Why I Love Being a Father

"We never know the love of our parents for us until we have become parents."
-Henry Ward Beecher

While the Reverend Beecher may have been speaking of earthly parents, my love and appreciation for our Heavenly Father has grown in breadth and depth since becoming a father myself.  The analogy, I'm sure, has been made before, but I want to be careful and explicit when I make it here.  In saying that seeing my children has helped me to better understand how our Father in heaven sees us, I want to be careful that I'm not equating myself to God in any way.  However, I do believe there's something to be learned.  In understanding how a lot relates to a little, I can catch a glimpse of how infinity relates to a lot.

Taking Pride in Their Conduct
One of the great joys in parenting is receiving a compliment on our children.  To be more accurate, there's joy when our children is complimented for traits we value.  I can assure you that I'll be less than joyful to hear of our children's ingenuity in skirting rules (i.e. cheating).  The reason for this joy is completely egotistical as we interpret (whether it's intended or not) the compliment is to our ability in transferring our values to our children.

As Christians, we're God's ambassadors whether we like it or not.  Even when we feel we've been judged unfairly, our reaction to that injustice reflects on our Father in heaven.  When we are unnaturally loving and forgiving, God beams with joy (i.e. Glory!) as people have little choice but to credit Him.

Joy from Grace
Through a combination of money from chores/jobs, reward for good grades and gift money, Luke purchased his own iPod.  The satisfaction in having earned his new toy was clear on his face.  A few minutes later, that joy turned into a celebration when he realized that we'd added a couple of $.99 games.

Though we're happy to get the $99 we feel we deserve, it's that $1 we get for no good reason that puts us over the top.  The "trick" then is realizing that the less we view as "merited", the greater the opportunity for grace-induced joy.

What's Mercy without Justice?
One of the tenets in our home is that all choices have consequences.  To reinforce this lesson, we've tried to consistently apply punishment when poor/bad choices are made.  On occasion, when we've seen true regret, we've waived or shortened the punishment.  The look of gladness and relief tells us that they get it and the lesson won't be forgotten.

If you're new to church and didn't know better, you'd think there are two Gods with the way some of us talk about the God of the Old Testament versus the New.  We cannot truly appreciate God's love as demonstrated through forgiveness and forbearance unless we accept that justice will be served when the time is right

Some may wonder how I could get this far without talking the joys of seeing the world through children's eyes or celebrating all the milestones as our children mature.  How can I write about being a father without talking more about my children.  While there's certainly I treasure the opportunity to provide, protect and teach my children, I've realized that the greatest gift I can give them is a faithful walk with God.  So what I love about being a father is that they've pushed me to be more faithful, which, in turn, has helped me to become a better father.

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