Adjustments#1. “Fatherhood—Seven lessons I have learned so far.”

Adjustments#1. “Fatherhood—Seven lessons I have learned so far.”

Lesson 1. I was young when I started, and now I am (nearly) old. Today my children are 26, 25 and 22 years old. Words cannot describe my love for them and Lynda, but it is a love lived in time.

Lesson 2. When God blesses you with children you are immediately thrust into a parallel universe. If there were any traces of the freedoms of single life left in marriage up till then, they were purged forthwith.

Lesson 3. The biggest lesson I learned (too late) as a husband and father was the fact that an unfair weight of work fell upon Lynda. That overwhelming exhilaration of having babies to love came with overwhelming exhaustion, especially on her part.

Lesson 4. What followed was an expenditure of time, money, energy, and emotion that is impossible to quantify in normal terms. With all good parents, you consider the loving results as worth the sacrifice and would do it all again.

Lesson 5. A strange realisation came upon me one day that my children actually think they own me. I guess since they could never perceive a beginning to the relationship (naturally), and they give no thought to an end, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. ‘Dad is dad,’ and that is all. The provision of their needs was taken for granted (as it should be), and their unending lists of wants were skilfully negotiated by a system of trial and error. “If mum says, ‘No!’ try dad.”

Lesson 6. Teenagers are God’s gift of humility. If my mother ever said those fateful words, “I hope you have kids that treat you the way you treat me,” then her curse most certainly came upon me. These are the years that you find out the hard way that they have minds of their own. You still have some tools of disciple at your disposal, but sooner or later they will do what they want to do.

Lesson 7. Being a godly father is impossible without being a godly husband. Mum and dad are two sides to the same spiritual coin. My children may enjoy and exploit the differences between mum and dad, but in reality, we stand as a single unit in their minds. Christian husband and parent-father—That’s me! I am thankful for the goodness that God has gifted me. I am blessed.

But there were a lot of adjustments. Praise God that Jesus’ love showed the way.

John Staiger

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