In case you haven’t heard, today is Father’s Day. I guess I’m not technically a father in the eyes of the majority of the medical community and probably not in the eyes of many people in the Western world, but I already consider myself a dad. This is a distinction that I have wanted to have for a very long time and here are my top 3 reasons why:
Being a dad means that I get another opportunity to be the image-bearer of extravagant, graceful1 love . The love that a father has for their child should be one marked not only by an extreme affection – one that feels a power not unlike the unrelenting surge of the oceans tides – but also one that seeks it highest joy in the unconditional expression of that affection in words and actions. Whether my yet unborn son (or daughter) turns out to be the most well behaved child or not, my joy and duty in fatherhood will be to run with open arms and an exhilarated heart of love to my child in all circumstances. When late nights leave me cranky and tired, or spilled milk threatens to ruin a perfectly normal dinner, or the stress of providing for my family attacks my own fears and insecurities, the call of fatherhood is to lay those all aside and take up the cause of love. Chances are at first I won’t be perfect, heck, I may not even be that good at it, but I will try; and I will learn; and I will cry out for help; and over time the love that is within me will be refined until it is purer than I could have imagined. To be a dad is to love.
Being a father means that I get another opportunity to protect and nurture someone who is unbelievably beautiful . Part of being a good husband is that you get to protect and nurture your unbelievably beautiful wife. When things try to strike at her heart – bodily insecurities, various fears, unforgiveness, broken friendships, or evil in another’s actions – it is the husband’s joy to stand up for his beauty and fight for her. He gets to prove how precious she is by his passion for her defense. It is the same with one’s children. I am not here advocating or endorsing a model of fatherhood that fights other people over the simplest slight. Instead I see fatherhood as a chance to fight against the fears that plague many children – the fear of not being lovable, or of being worthless, or of not mattering. A father needs to watch over his children in aggressive resistance to these lies that attack the young. To be a dad is to fight.
Being a papa means that I get to explore the mind of my child … and build forts again . And not just forts, but dart wars, tea parties, wrestle matches, tickle fights, pillow fights, rolling down the hills, ghost riding bicycles on the playground2, hunting for tadpoles, searching for leprechauns3, you know, fun stuff. What makes it all even more fun will be getting to see the mind of my child invent and interact with the world around them. They will have thoughts and experiences all their own and being a parent means that I get a chance to be a part of that. I get to discover who they are and I can’t wait to get to do that. To be a dad is to explore.
So even though my child is till four months away from leaving the warm, comfy goodness of my wife’s baby incubator I am still pumped about that idea that I am a father. Today I will sit back and enjoy my opportunity to love, protect and explore the life of my child – relishing the shadow of love I get to become and the great big cosmic sized love I get point my naked baby to.