Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being a Better Dad

Pastor's kids are sitting ducks. It's a perfect storm really. Pastor's are busy - but all kinds of dads are busy in other kinds of work - what makes Pastor's kids such a target? Well I have a couple thoughts.

  • Pastoring is a people business, so any time other people come before family it feel's like dad is choosing them over us. Could cause some bitterness against other people.
  • Pastoring is a church business, so any time the church comes before family it feels like dad is choosing the church over us. Could cause some bitterness against the church.
  • Pastoring is a God business, so any time God-stuff comes before family it feels like dad is choosing God-stuff over us. Could cause some bitterness against God.

That's a confusing deal for kids. For a kid whose dad is a businessman - and is busy and neglectful and all that stuff - the kid might get mad at his dad and his dad's business - but that anger and bitterness doesn't necessarily get wrapped up into God and the church and weighty stuff like that. On top of it - I do believe that Spiritual Leaders are subject to a unique spiritual attack.

So all that to say, I had a question ringing in my ears all of Father's Day. "How can I be a better dad?" It is one of my most important roles as a human being, and I'm all about self-evaluation, so I wanted to ponder the question.

Instead of trying to come up with crap on my own - I decided to ask my two oldest kids (got the idea from Mark Batterson) So I asked them- "How can I be a better dad to you guys? What are the things that I'm not doing so well that I can get better at? What do you guys need more of from me that you're not getting right now?" They both really took the question seriously - they pondered and considered - they spend several minutes in quiet thought. Here's what they came up with:

Chase - "there is nothing I can really think of...one thing I thought of... but it's what a bad person would say." I said, "nothing is bad to say right now Chase - everything is fair game - tell me what you're thinking." He said, "I'm just thinking about more money and more stuff - but friends don't like rich people who don't share their stuff." I said, "that's true Chase - it's important to share our stuff." Then he said, "I would like to have you help me build a small house - we could design it together and you could teach me how to build it." Sounds like a good plan (what I resisted saying is "designing and building houses is your mom's department - ask her!")

Caleb - "there is nothing dad - you're an awesome dad. Out of all the dad's of all my friends - there is no one else's dad that I think does a better job than you."

It was encouraging but I think I still need to keep asking the question - because I know there are a lot of things that I need to do better.

Here are a couple of good fatherhood ideas that I've run across lately - one from Mark Batterson's blog and one from Tim Steven's blog.

What area of your life do you find it hardest to self-evaluate?


the Jennings secede from the South said...

I think it's hard to evaluate my obedience to God. I should obey quickly, cheerfully, and fully, right? But then I get in negotiation mode or I compare myself to other people. Lord, I know you're asking me to do this but this person loves you and they don't do this so hey, if it's good enough for them...

childrensministryandculture said...

I think I'm learning that it goes a long way when our kids see us...

1) Struggling to prioritize them;
2) Apologizing when we mess up;
3) Being intentional-- planning ways to lead into their lives.


One thing I love about Grace is that our families and children aren't placed on pedestals for comparision, evaluation, etc.

aaron said...

I am not a fan of Poems, but this struck me in a book once....and I really see it with my boys using my sarcasm back my way.

The Little Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me,
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me, he says, he's going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Through summer's fun and winter's snow,
In building for the years to be
The little chap who follows me!