On Fathers Day 2014 I gave each of the dads in my church a copy of David Drury’s book Being Dad. If you have not yet received you copy, please see me. I will not give this book to your wife or children to pass along to you, as this is a gift from me to you. Although I’ve read the book already, I’m reading it again, along with any of you that have begun reading (I saw one dad reading right after church). There will be no spoilers of the book here, but I will post my reflections on the three major sections of the book: The Early Years, The Growth Years, and The Peer Years, with the hope that these posts will further encourage you to not only read the book, but to also become the best dad you can be.
When I ride my bike, I can’t coast all the time, and, honestly, I do like to pedal, as it makes me stronger and gets me to my destination faster. But sometimes it’s nice, or even necessary, to coast. When I’m pulling my daughter in the bike trailer, I might switch to an easier gear, but rarely get to coast. That’s being dad, intentional work.
David talks about we dads being intentional with: time, love, humility, fun, and spirituality. My dad was intentional in many of those areas. I have great memories of my dad including me in his hobby, fishing. I realize bringing me along, as a minor, had the added bonus of getting a second fishing pole into the water on only one fishing licence, but still, he didn’t have to take me at all, and we enjoyed our time together, whether we talked, competed at rock skipping, or sat silently. I remember coming home and taking pictures with our catches the first time I caught and landed a striped bass all by myself.
The Early Years section reminded me of two intentional deeds that I want to maintain or improve on as a dad. The first involves breakfast. My daughter enjoys waking up and having breakfast with me before I go to work. Sometimes I get her meal ready and then return to my own morning preparation. I need to make sitting down at the table with my daughter the priority. Also, some mornings she doesn’t wake up before I leave. Just on a whim one morning, I left her a one sentence message on a post-it-note. “Sophia, please feed the cat. Daddy” That note meant so much to her. At lunch she thanked me several times for the note. She appreciated that I was thinking about her. I thought I was just helping her with her reading skills. I’ve since left other one-sentence notes, and will continue to do so.
The second intentional deed I started before my daughter was born, but until now I hadn’t thought to go back to it; it pertains to milestones. As soon as we found out the gender of our yet to be born daughter, I took one weekend off from doing seminary homework to make a wooden plaque for my daughter. Burned into this plaque is my daughter’s name, her name meaning, and a Bible verse that reflects that name meaning. The plaque also has also her namesake gem stone inlaid. I’m going to start using the back of that plaque to mark milestones. My daughter is too young yet to handle a wood burner, but I’ll find someway for her to help. We’ll start by putting her birthday and dedication day on the back. Later we’ll add the date she makes her own confession of faith, her baptism, and perhaps her wedding or ordination day. This may sound weird to dads, but maybe she and her mom would want to mark when she “enters womanhood,” as a son might want to mark his first shave. Dads of daughters should really read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Look for part 2 later. I’ve got to go dig out my wood burner.