A child can bring you face to face with your flaws. I never thought I was perfect but I never realized how many issues I had. You see, I'm the father of 2 children who are certainly blessings from God. But it's important to let you in on the fact that my children have brought me face to face with some of the more disappointing parts of me. Not disappointments on their part but certainly mine and how much I am a problem child for lack of a better phrase.
Meet Malakai, he is a 2 and half, gem of a boy who is so compassionate and yet determined to get your attention even when you don't want to partake in his moments of bad behaviour. He's such a hard guy to get a picture of but when you do it's something special. Malakai may come off as slow to comprehend things but I believe he is a baby genius in the making. There are so many things that he remembers and can recite and yet when it comes to communicating with him he is a one word man. What makes my son bring me to tears is when I realize how well he remembers things and yet so easily lets go of when I yell at him. The truth is, patience is one of my weaknesses especially when I want things done a certain way. So as you can imagine when it's time to clean up and Kai wants to keep playing or is not interested in picking up his toys, we butt heads. Needless to say he's only a little over 2 as I write this.
So what do I do as a dad trying to understand his role with his first born? It can be absolutely gut wrenching after scolding a child when you play back their tear laden eyes looking back at you as you give them adult instruction. It is moments like these that I begin to realize that the problem is not my child, the problem is with me. I can't expect my 'blank canvas' of a child to comprehend and comply with something that I don't patiently take the time to teach him. I can't yell at him for not taking off his shoes or putting toys where they are supposed to if I don't make the concerted effort to take him through the paces. I have to man up and teach him because that's what embodies my role as dad. To teach, and be able to say I'm sorry right to his face when I make mistakes. In my teaching I must be conscious of my motives as well. If I am doing it with selfish ambition in mind, e.g. so my child can do better than X from across the street, then I really need to do a self assessment of my heart. As a dad I have a mandate that has lifelong repercussions, I learn of this in Proverbs 22:6which says
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Let's meditate on this verse for a moment. It starts off with the advice to train up. When talking about training be it in sports, or at work, the purpose behind it is to make you better equipped, right? For example if you go for training for a particular sport, the goal is to equip you to not only compete against your opponent but most likely to win. So when we are instructed to "train our child in the way he should go" the idea is to equip them to be victorious against their opponent in the days when they no longer have the safety and coverage of an experienced parent. So when turned to me my mandate is to ensure that what I am training Malakai positively impacts them in their adult lives.
But how do I know that what I am training him is the right thing, especially considering that there are things in my life that I was brought up on that I disagree with? Well all I can say is that I can only train beyond me when I look to one who is greater than me. That one is God. In my moments of weakness when walking with Kai, I have had to step back after yelling at him and put that against God's instruction manual, The Bible, in order to determine whether I'm doing right or not. When I have done that a huge sense of compassion falls on my heart for my boy. I love my son to bits, and yet I am flawed and cause pain to him. I have had to repent countless times and even though he may not understand me I have had to apologize because I too am in training at being a dad. I may be instructed to train my child on the way he should go but must not forget that as a child of God I too am in training.
So to all you dad's out there who feel like they are drowning in their weaknesses. Know that you are not alone, there is a father in Heaven who is ready to teach us only if we are willing so we can pass it on.
From one Dad to another