I have two daughters, ages 13 and 10. You’re probably wondering if I still have any hair left. Or maybe you envision me with a covering of silver. Well, there is a small spot on top that receives more love from the sun than the rest of my head, but mostly, it’s intact. I’ve always kept my hair cut fairly short, so the gray color doesn’t have much of a chance to shine. I’m sure it’s coming though. It’s only a matter of time.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting back on my life of being a father. I’ve had my share of shining moments, but there have also been times when I could have done a lot better. I’m beginning to realize that my role of a parent to my children must be rooted in unconditional love just like every other aspect of my life.
I’ve always loved them, there’s no doubt about that. What I’m talking about is the 1 Corinthians 13 love that I’ve been blogging about a lot recently. If we live our lives in any other way than described in that chapter, then we are only living for ourselves. I believe this applies to parenting as well.
I have changed a lot. My wife and girls can attest to that fact. I used to allow anger and frustration to rule my reactions when they did typical kid stuff. Not anymore. I am walking more in love and less in my flesh these days, and my responses are reflecting that lifestyle. Does this mean I allow them to do whatever they want? Of course not. Part of loving them is handing out punishment and consequences as the situations dictate. There is just huge difference when it’s done in love and not in anger.
What I’ve come to understand is that when I feel like a failure as a parent, I’m really not. My children just need to be born again. Sin entered the world with the fall of man in the Garden. My kids were born into that. They didn’t have a choice in the matter. Their DNA is coded to be selfish. When they are born again, their new DNA will be re-coded to be self-less.
I was fortunate to have an earthly father who left no doubt in my mind that he loved me, even though he never had a worthy example from his father. That shows you what Christ can do in someone’s life. The old is gone, all things are new. My Dad had an excuse not to be a good father, but he didn’t cash in that ticket. He was born again, became love, and it flowed into every aspect of his life.
Love your kids. Play games with them. Listen when they explain every detail of their epic day, even though you are exhausted from working two jobs. Hold them when they are crying. Laugh when they tell a joke that isn’t even close to being funny. Rejoice with them in their accomplishments. Encourage them through their failures. Don’t get mad at them when they make a mess, and distract you from spending hours on Facebook. Clap when they sing. Say yes when asked to dance.
Make sure your life is a living example of love to them.
When I think of Jesus, I immediately see love. Let’s leave a legacy for the generations that follow us. A legacy of love.