"Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy." -Unknown
Really? Seriously? As a man, I actually loathe the statement as it implies that I could possibly be one and not the other simultaneously. In my mind, they are one and the same, inseparable, synonymous. Don't get me wrong, I honestly understand the implication behind the saying. I do. But is it right? Is it truth? Is this really where we want to draw the line as men? I hardly think so!
I have been very touched today by reading the 'I love you, Daddy' or 'I love my father' or 'I miss my dad' posts on facebook. I share many of the same sentiments! Strangely, there seemed to be an exceedingly abundant number of them, more so than I can remember in years' past. And it really struck me (along with the powerful message in church this morning) as to just how deeply intimate and vitally important this relationship is to ALL of us! Without exception! (because ALL includes everything that nothing does not!)
The statistics are astoundingly sobering, any way you look at them, at what a father-less home will do to the hearts and futures of our children. I don't have time to study and quote any specific numbers to you (remember? I have 6 kids!), but here are a few examples: a large majority of prison inmates, drug addicts, alcoholics, teen pregnancies and those who commit suicide either have major relational issues with their father or never knew him. But why? How can so many of these studies tie all of this back to dad?
The answer really is quite simple. It's because God has designed a perfect order to the family, the core building block of every society. He has placed within every man the desire and ability to be a leader, to compete, to conquer, and to triumph. He has created us with a drive to provide and protect that which we love most. But, He has also given us a command to love!! We are to love our wives, our children, our families, our neighbors, and even complete strangers. Without love, all else fails to find worth and meaning! (1 Corinthians 13:1-3,13) Without love, leading turns to over-bearing suppression. Without love, competition and conquering turns to hate and war. Without love, triumph turns to bitterness and arrogance. Without love, providing and protecting becomes utterly useless, even nearly depressing.
So, back to the simple answer: Fathers have forgotten how to love. Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "Let love be your highest goal!" How could we have missed this, men? Why is it not so painfully obvious to us all that what is lacking is LOVE? Without a father's love, a child's self-worth and identity remains adrift in a sea of worldly pressures and temptations. Without a daddy's protection, a child is left to defend himself against unbelievably powerful and subversive enemies. Without a father's leadership and example, a child is left to define her own boundaries and morals. Does that sound familiar? It is not simply coincidental how we now find ourselves in a postmodern (or even post-postmodern) society full of moral relativism and decay. It all rests on Dad's shoulders.
There is no difference between a father and a daddy, unless you can count perspective. To me, I am both. To my wife, I am both. To my children, I am both. But, admittedly, I may be more of a father than a daddy at certain times ,or, conversely, more of a daddy than a father at other times. I believe the title 'Father' commands respect and reverence; I believe that this is a role of authority and power, and encompasses the duties of king, judge, and priest. It is not a name that I expect to hear my children call me by, at least while they are young. But, I know that it is who I am and NEED to be for my children while they are in my care. On the other hand, I believe the title 'Daddy' illustrates an intimate and heart-touching relationship that is beyond description. It is built around trust, affection, and devotion. It may look different to different people, but it is the same principle of time spent together that lays the foundation. I know that this is who I am and WANT to be for my children for all my life. I have gathered this complement of 'titles' and qualities from Scripture and from my relationship with both my earthly father and my Heavenly Father.
Now, let's take a look at God's first command to Adam and Eve, the first family: Genesis 1:28 "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it..." From this, I would like to pose an alternative to the initial quote of unknown origin above. I think it should be "Anyone can be a multiplier, but it takes someone Godly to be fruitful." What I mean is this: Any man can be a multiplier (you know... the birds and the bees stuff...), but only a man that has humbly submitted himself to God's authority and power can be a fruitful father! What kind of fruit do others see in your marriage? In your workplace? In your home? What kind of fruit do your own children see in you? Do you get the implication?
Fathers, have you honestly taken responsibility for the well-being of your children and their eternal future? Or have you abdicated your office as leader, instructor, and judge to others (wife, step-parents, school systems, etc.)? Dads, will you not throw off the shackles of fear and pride in order to show unwavering love and affection to your children and spouse? I know it's not easy! I know it's often uncomfortable! I know it's even flat-out awkward sometimes! I know it's physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting! I know that it actually seems down-right impossible! I know, I know, I know!!!!
But what else is even worth your time, if not fatherhood? What else is even worth investing ALL that you have, if not fatherhood? What else is worth seeking, sacrificing, and laboring for, if not fatherhood? Why else did your God not spare His ONLY begotten Son, if not for eternal fatherhood? He desires to call you His child, and for you to call him Abba father.
Happy Father's Day, Dads!! I'm praying for you!