He let us down again.
I received a call from a friend of mine. He asked, “Would you please pray for my family? He shared, “My 63-year-old dad lost his job today and we are in a very difficult financial position.”
A part of me wasn’t surprised by the news.
“He got fired again! He has always done this to us. My family is 2 months behind on rent. He let us down again. To be honest, I’m so angry with him.”
Of course, I knew the history of my friend’s father. I knew about the extensive struggle with pornography. I knew about his pattern of isolating himself with television and entertainment. I heard about his propensity to argue with his wife and ignore his children. I knew my friend’s emotions about his father were valid.
But it wasn’t until I understood why he was fired that I was forced to reconsider my stance on his character.
My friend went on, “My mom always asked him, ‘What do you eat at work because we don’t have money? He always said, “I eat nothing”… now we know he steals food from his job. That is why he got fired.”
That is where it hit me. Somewhere deep in his conflicted reality, he would rather steal food than go hungry or spend money that his family didn’t have. Although this was a poor choice, I found that there was something noble about his actions. Perhaps within this shell of a man resided a person that actually tried his best.
I thought about the weight of his unloving marriage, the horrors of watching his children lose faith in him and the degrading powerlessness of personal sin.
The truth is that this father did not wake up one day and decide that he would live a terribly substandard life. He had once hoped of being an engaged father when he held his child for the first time. He was determined to uphold his vows on his wedding day. He once had the tenacity to fight to be and to do the best he could.
Ultimately, this situation worried me because it represented everything I fear becoming as a man.
A man’s greatest fears:
- To lose his voice and become forgotten by his wife.
- To be a point of shame for his children.
- To only see his own failures and lose his ability to dream.
If you are a man that identifies with these fears allow me to encourage you. You can build your life today stronger than yesterday. Here is how to build to change the trajectory of your life and family.
Building now for the future:
Fight for your wife. You have to love your wife to death. This statement is not emotional, it is a principle.
In scripture, we are told to love our wives as Christ loved the church. This is our basis on how to love our wives. Here are a few examples of how this works.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8 (NIV)
Unconditional. A relationship that is not based on reciprocity but instead depends solely on the personal capacity to give.
Death. The patience to give her room to grow even if it means you take the wrong or suffer more.
Representation. The leadership to ask God and everyone else to look past your wife’s shortcomings and assign your accomplishments and successes as her accomplishments.
Fight for your children. Present fathers are the exception, not the rule.
“There is a father absence crisis in America. According to the U.S. census bureau, 24 million children, 1 out of 3, live without their biological father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today.” – www.Fatherhood.org
There is no doubt that fathers are needed. For the most part just being around our children isn’t enough. Fathers need a bridge to help them understand the nuanced involvement needed to build stable and secure children. It starts with a simple resolution: Do all you can to engage your children.
Fight for yourself. Control is internal. You cannot control the opinions of others about you, but you can control yourself. The truth is that our children yearn to find a point of pride in their parents. The need isn’t preferential so much as it is developmental. An integral theory based in child developmental psychology is called the ‘Attachment Theory’. It states that a child needs a secure base in order to gain a baseline of safety as well as the competence to build healthy and safe relationships.
You are now and always will be a model that your children use to form their own relationships. The best tool you can give them is that of a father that actively works to be the best version of himself.
You have to fight for success in your heart more than success in your outcomes. Success isn’t perfection, success is the internal conviction and grit to maintain a journey towards being the man you were born to be.
Failure is a lie. It is the deception used to pull you away from being clear about yourself. It is the deception that is meant to pull you away from your spiritual journey in God. It is a lie. Who you are becoming in God is the truth. Therefore, do not allow your failures to distract you from loving your wife, children or yourself.
Crossing the bridge [your turn]
Being a father goes against the grain. It is no longer a normal thing to do or to be. Therefore, you cannot do this by yourself. Find brothers who are also fathers and husbands. You are going to need them.
There are many things you can only learn from other men. You are going to need others to carry you through hard times, and in the same way, as you carry others, you also become stronger. Let their victories be your victories and allow your victories to belong of the entire company of men that you stand with.
Start with this. Join our Facebook Group. We will be hosting a special day each week just for fathers.
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