Sunday, June 17, 2012

TO BE A FATHER

Though I pulled this together when our kids were small, I'm still exploring the privilege and mystery

I dance with Abby at her 2008 wedding
What does it mean to be a father?
I am in personally unexplored territory,
still trying to chart the terrain.
But I am learning and
living into it.

It means
To fix my child's well-being
prominently in my mind, time, and action.
To endear her to life's adventure.
To discover what lies in him;
discern his possible trajectories.
To challenge her;
to urge her toward her best.
To enthusiastically champion him
and faithfully defend him.

It means
To be sensitive to her independence;
to respect her pride,
and, through it all, to not get in her way.
To distinguish between
my own needs and his.
To cultivate confidence.
To find a way to talk with, not at;
to be quick to listen.
To find a way to reduce the heat of conflict
and correct for training amid calm waters.

It means
To be aware that my child watches,
hears, notices, and senses
my words, moods, and moves.
What I am, what I do, what I value
influences, as much as anything, her life.

It means
To demonstrate value for the mystery
into which I have entered.
To try prepare him for a future that is beyond me.
To try to root her in the best of history.
To try to be faithful and authentic
in the present generation.

To be a father means,
at least, these things.
It means, in a word,
to love my children.
And, desiring for them far beyond
what it is within my ability to give,
to pray.

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