I love being a dad. It’s one of my favorite roles in life. There’s almost a Gandalfian wizardry about it. I have the privilege of creating magical moments with my children – ones that imprint lasting memories and ones that teach some of life’s core lessons. Do my kids drive me crazy at times? Sure. Do they wear me out to the point that I continue to watch an average TV show because the remote control is too far away to retrieve and change the channel or turn on my DVR? Sometimes. But at the end of the day, I love being a dad.
I recently interviewed singer-songwriter John Waller – a dad of 4, with his 5th child due to arrive this summer. I asked him what life lessons he’s learned through being a father.
Wow . . . it taught me that this life is not about me. It really is about pouring myself out to this next generation, to my children. My son and I started reading Proverbs together. Then we just pray to the Lord, “Give us wisdom.” It says in James that if we lack it then ask, and He will give it. So we start reading them, and it’s cool to see when that stuff sticks with my son. I just feel like he will do greater things than me.
I also wanted the words of wisdom from Dr. Michael Milton – songwriter, author, radio host, speaker, and Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary. He released a song in 2010 (“God is Calling Faithful Men”) that is mainly an ordination song about the calling of pastors. I couldn’t help but also hear a message that challenges men to be stronger leaders in their home. Here’s Dr. Milton’s thoughts:
There’s a wonderful phrase in the old King James where Paul said “Quit ye like men.” Of course, what that really means is “stand fast,” or as an old country preacher said, “Stand on your hind legs and act like a man.” Robert Burns put it differently in his poem “The Cotter’s Saturday Night.” A “cotter” is someone who lives in a cottage. Burns talks about the light burning in the cottage. That is the light as the father opens up the sacred page, and the “barons,” that is the children, gather around the father, “priest-like” as Burns says, and listen as this father in the cottage reads the scripture. Burns said that this was the secret of the power of the British Empire – that little highlander father holding devotional worship in his home on a Saturday night before the “barons” went to bed. I ask you – what if that were reproduced all over our nation today, and on Saturday night the light was burning in homes where fathers were reading the scriptures to their children? Would that not transform the culture that we’re in?
A very good challenge, indeed. And this Father’s Day holds an ever greater significance for me. I’m happy to announce that my wife & I are expecting our fourth child, which is due in late November. The micro picture of fatherhood can have a lot of disappointments and frustrations, but the macro picture is a beautiful thing. Dads have the opportunity to shape and lead the next generation to be more faithful, caring, educated, generous, and more in love with Jesus. It doesn’t get better than that!
Our current episode of UTR is a tribute to Dads. Not only do we play songs by John Waller and Michael Milton, but several other songs on the theme of fatherhood.