Ode to Dads

I saw a meme recently about Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day. There’s many out there, but this one pointed out the striking differences between the price of Mother’s Day gifts vs. those of Father’s Day. For Mother’s Day advertisers convince you hundreds of dollars should be spent to purchase your mom (or wife, should the children be too young) diamonds to honor her sacrifices. For Father’s Day, $10 Target shorts are on sale…and on top of that they need to cook their own special meal, because grilling is manly and men like to be manly, especially on Father’s Day.

While I realize moms do a lot of work, I feel like dads are frequently short-changed.

I grew up fortunate enough to have a mom able to stay home with us kids while my dad worked. Unbeknownst to me, not only did my dad work all day, but he mostly worked jobs he hated, simply because he knew loving your job was not more important than feeding your family. When he came home, he was exhausted—yet I never knew it. My dad always had time for me, and as a quintessential “Daddy’s Girl”, I always had time for my dad.

As an adult, I realized how utterly life-draining working at a horrible job really was, even though I was only there 6 months. Like Tom Hanks utters in the not-so-classic Joe Versus the Volcano, it “sucks, sucks, sucks” the life out of you (extra points to you if you actually know what scene I’m talking about). I did a meaningless, data-entry job at an office where I was literally not aloud to talk except outside during my 30 minute lunch break. If you know me at all, you know it’s a wonder I managed to stick it out for 6 months. At the end of each day I felt as if I had no energy to engage with anyone else—and that’s when the light bulb went off. My dad had experienced that most of my life, and yet every night he made me feel as if he had all the energy in the world to play with and talk to me.

Fast forward many years, and now I watch my husband work tirelessly all day, then jump with my boys on the trampoline or sit on the floor and build castles and car washes out of Legos and magnet tiles. If the term “Proud Papa” was in the dictionary, a picture of my husband’s beaming face would be next to it. He adores our boys, and our boys know it. Before bed tonight, my oldest and I were listing all the things “Baba” (Dad in Swahili) does for us, and my son’s smile grew larger and larger with each item.

One of my favorite things Yusuph does is refer to each boy as “my son” when they call his name with a questioning tone. Without fail, every time the boys say, “Baba?”, he looks at them and says, “Yes, my son?” With every answer, their identity grows deeper and deeper.

Every time I hear him say, “Yes, my son?”, it makes me think of my Heavenly Father. When we go to God, he’s not automatically frustrated or annoyed or disturbed by our presence. He’s thrilled we’re coming to Him! It’s as if He’s looking and saying, “Yes, my child?” And automatically, when your identity is as a child, there’s a comfort level there, a feeling that you won’t be shamed for what you’re about to say. Scripture says it this way:

“And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.”

Galatians 4:6-7

Those who believe are children of God (John 1:12), and we have been made heirs to His Kingdom! Our perfect Heavenly Father dotes on us, so much so that we are heirs. Unfortunately, many people struggle to trust God the Father is good. Unfortunately for too many, “Father” does not equate love and forgiveness. Unfortunately for many, referring to God as “Father” brings pain and confusion as they are unable to reconcile the Father of the Bible with the father in their home. My heart grieves this.

How dads treat their children effects how their children view God. Because of this, dads need to be cheered and celebrated.

If you grew up with a dad who showed you a healthy picture of God, thank him. If you’re currently watching your spouse try his best to show attributes of God to your children, encourage him. And if you have a dad who corrupted your view of our Heavenly Father, ask God to bring redemption to that picture. It won’t be instantaneous, but God can break down those misconceptions and build them up again with the truth of who He is.

So, whether you bought your dad a new television or just a new belt, honor him today. Celebrate how you’ve seen glimpses of God through his words and actions. And let him do something manly—like grill his own dinner.

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