A Father’s Day Challenge

My children are very, very different. Take, for example, the things that we do together. If I went to Joshua, my 8 year old, and said, “Son, we can do anything you want to do for the next hour.” He’s probably either going to have us building a battle constructed of Lego’s or playing some intricately-ruled game of his own making in the backyard (last time, we each got to choose 12 super powers and I had to make a list on my phone to remember which ones I had).

The little girl is different. Same question given to Andi, and we would find ourselves either coloring a picture or dressing up dolls, putting them to bed, and then waking them up to give them breakfast.

The other boy is still different. Christian, the 3-year-old, is a bruiser. He’ll want to wrestle. Hard. And he won’t be content until he is jumping up and down on my chest doing his best to puncture my lungs with a fractured rib.

Three kids. Same mom. Same dad. Incredibly different. You can probably relate.

So, dads, I wonder if this Father’s Day we might challenge each other in light of these differences. I wonder if we can exhort each other to understand and embrace everything that makes us dads and everything that makes our kids kids. Here, then, is the challenge:

Be a student of your children.

Don’t fall into the temptation to believe that your kids like everything you like and want to spend time doing the things you like to. And don’t fall into the temptation of believing that you can love them, discipline them, or reward them in the same ways. To do so is laziness on our part.

Instead, let’s study them. Know them. Figure them out as best we can. This, after all, is what our own Father does for us. He knows that we are differently talented, gifted, and wired, and He wants to encourage us to live in the middle of that. So shall it be with our own children.

Happy Father’s Day, guys. Let’s make the most of it.

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