Our parenting roles don’t get easier. Our culture, economy, longevity, and living complexities make it increasingly difficult to define the role of father, acknowledge the role of father, or consistently fill fatherly shoes. The father’s role evolves from the moment of conception to the end of life—quite a journey. At least in my life, there are times I’m totally in tune with God’s fatherly role and action plan for me, and sometimes, it seems like a distant dream.

I often reflect on the first few hours after the birth of our two children. I remember the preparation, the anticipation, and the reception. I remember thinking about how happy I was but a little unsure how I would support my wife, Judy.

Not all fathers have the luxury of those priorities. Five thousand plus babies have been born to Ukrainian refugees whose fathers remain inside the country, fighting and, in many cases, dying. How many of those babies will ask multiple questions over the coming years, trying to “know” their father who will never return. And the father’s who, perhaps during their last days, will wonder about their son or daughter. They will wonder what they look like. These fathers will ask, “What till be their first words?” “How will they grow up?” And regret that they will not be connected until a time of eternal greeting.

As we all age, the stages of the father-child relationship become more complex. During each stage, the critical variable is whether love will overcome the issues of both growing up and growing older. Sometimes they do, particularly if God remains central in the family. So often, God is a fatherly figure with no actual relationship. A distant figure, understood to be powerful and without an active role in the relationships of Father and son or daughter.  As I reflect on my own role as father, it is complex and does not seem to have easy solutions when conflict or misunderstanding arise.

In my 8th decade, I have seen lots of “water flow under the bridge.” I’m noticing that it continues to flow.

As my children and grandchildren grow older, it is hard to connect with the fact that my son and daughter are well into their 50s. Our grandsons are both at the United States Air Force Academy.  As Judy and I navigate our 80s, I pray about the evolving relationships, highlighted by the fact that we are approaching new stages of life and are that much closer to death and eternity than ever before. This seems self-evident, yet the thoughts and emotions continue to evolve. Some thoughts are wonderfully reflective and positive, and some not so much. I admit that some fear is involved, and I need to “hit my knees” more than ever. This is the reality of “father.”

Fathers, let’s be intentional about how we grow as loving fathers. Let’s set aside all the thinking and actions that don’t reflect the love we want to express and embrace the ones that do. How about bringing flowers to your wife and thanking her for supporting you as you grow into a fully developed, loving father.

I want to be about “my father’s business,” following Jesus’ description of his relationship with the first person of the trinity. From that same father, I can take my direction as a father. Connecting to His wisdom and direction allows me to walk with the fruits of the spirit in my relationships with our children and the non-biological children he puts in my path; growing in the knowledge of and applying those fruits is so rewarding and essential. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. When those fruits are evident, I fulfill my role as a model father. When they are not, His grace will cover me, and I can persevere in my spiritual journey, learning more and more.

Happy Father’s Day. Let this day and the message above encourage you to grow in love and embrace the fruits of the Spirit.

-Bruce

 

Fathers Day Message

Our parenting roles don’t get easier. Our culture, economy, longevity, and living complexities make it increasingly difficult to define the role of father, acknowledge the role of father, or consistently fill fatherly shoes. The father’s role evolves from the moment of conception to the end of life—quite a journey. At least in my life, there are times I’m totally in tune with God’s fatherly role and action plan for me, and sometimes, it seems like a distant dream.

I often reflect on the first few hours after the birth of our two children. I remember the preparation, the anticipation, and the reception. I remember thinking about how happy I was but a little unsure how I would support my wife, Judy.

Not all fathers have the luxury of those priorities. Five thousand plus babies have been born to Ukrainian refugees whose fathers remain inside the country, fighting and, in many cases, dying. How many of those babies will ask multiple questions over the coming years, trying to “know” their father who will never return. And the father’s who, perhaps during their last days, will wonder about their son or daughter. They will wonder what they look like. These fathers will ask, “What till be their first words?” “How will they grow up?” And regret that they will not be connected until a time of eternal greeting.

As we all age, the stages of the father-child relationship become more complex. During each stage, the critical variable is whether love will overcome the issues of both growing up and growing older. Sometimes they do, particularly if God remains central in the family. So often, God is a fatherly figure with no actual relationship. A distant figure, understood to be powerful and without an active role in the relationships of Father and son or daughter.  As I reflect on my own role as father, it is complex and does not seem to have easy solutions when conflict or misunderstanding arise.

In my 8th decade, I have seen lots of “water flow under the bridge.” I’m noticing that it continues to flow.

As my children and grandchildren grow older, it is hard to connect with the fact that my son and daughter are well into their 50s. Our grandsons are both at the United States Air Force Academy.  As Judy and I navigate our 80s, I pray about the evolving relationships, highlighted by the fact that we are approaching new stages of life and are that much closer to death and eternity than ever before. This seems self-evident, yet the thoughts and emotions continue to evolve. Some thoughts are wonderfully reflective and positive, and some not so much. I admit that some fear is involved, and I need to “hit my knees” more than ever. This is the reality of “father.”

Fathers, let’s be intentional about how we grow as loving fathers. Let’s set aside all the thinking and actions that don’t reflect the love we want to express and embrace the ones that do. How about bringing flowers to your wife and thanking her for supporting you as you grow into a fully developed, loving father.

I want to be about “my father’s business,” following Jesus’ description of his relationship with the first person of the trinity. From that same father, I can take my direction as a father. Connecting to His wisdom and direction allows me to walk with the fruits of the spirit in my relationships with our children and the non-biological children he puts in my path; growing in the knowledge of and applying those fruits is so rewarding and essential. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. When those fruits are evident, I fulfill my role as a model father. When they are not, His grace will cover me, and I can persevere in my spiritual journey, learning more and more.

Happy Father’s Day. Let this day and the message above encourage you to grow in love and embrace the fruits of the Spirit.

-Bruce