Father Wisdom

A couple conversations with some of the guys at church has led to an effort by Tribes Men’s Work to start acknowledging our men who are becoming fathers. Most guys agree that while baby showers are appreciated, they seldom offer anything that appeals to a masculine perspective. I’ve got five kids, but sadly cannot recall ever receiving input, direction or guidance regarding how to live out my commitment to fatherhood. Proverbs is full of wisdom about manhood but it can be really hard to hang flesh on the words.

In this context, some of our GracePointe men have begun offering their elder wisdom, or father wisdom, wisdom that only years of experience can provide. Slowly, Tribes is putting together a book that places all of these insights into one place. Other fathers from church are invited to quarterly gatherings where these men are affirmed and acknowledged. The men of GracePointe are committed to this act of solidarity, recognizing that fathering requires different perspectives and skills than mothering, or parenting together as a couple, does.

So here are some bits of father wisdom that I’ve offered up:

When your child is born, get up with your wife for the nursing. Any other action will be recounted throughout the rest of your marriage!

When they are babies and your whole life gets redefined, remember that when you take care of your wife everything will work out.

When they are little, take every chance you find to get down on the floor and play with them. Get up slowly, it all ends much too quickly.

When they are little, don’t isolate yourself. Step in for your wife even though she may be more capable when it comes to all of the “baby” stuff. When you take care of your wife everything will work out.

When they start school it may be as hard for your wife as your child. Remember to comfort; when you take care of your wife everything will work out.

When they are defining life through learning, go eat lunch with them at school and take a cupcake with you.

Remember, every time you bite your nails, pick your nose, or scratch, you are being watched; the same goes for praying, teaching, greeting and participating in your community of faith.

When they hit double digits, even though they still look like babies to you, their hormones have been awakened. Breathe deeply, count to 3 (or 67) before disciplining. When they turn ten, your wife will struggle to redefine her relationship with them and it doesn’t matter if you have a girl or a boy. Just take care of your wife and hang on to each other, everything will work out.

When they get their drivers license, review all of the papers and actions needed when an accident occurs––it will occur. You can’t stop the first love and first heart break. Even if you could, you would deprive your child of one of the great mysteries of life; romantic love. The love you model as they watch your tenderness toward your wife.

Your child will talk more to your wife than to you, and that’s OK. Just take care of your wife and listen as she tells you what the heck is going on!

As they step into being young adults, remember that everyone is given free will. Everyone is blessed to make mistakes; it is what facilitates their true walk of faith, grace and redemption. As they walk through this stage of life it may last longer and be bumpier then you and your wife hope for. Just hold each other and pray. God will take care of all of you and everything will work out.

I’ve parented for more than a quarter of a century and you might expect that I would have more profound thoughts than these. The truth is that, absent early male mentors and friends and a father’s direction, most of what I’ve done for the last 26 years is to simply hang on the best that I can. Thankfully, the men of GracePointe church do not have to live in silent isolation relegated to carrying things and only watching as their child’s life unfolds.

Fatherhood is not a ride for the faint of heart. It is not always gratifying. It can hurt; cause grief and at times it seems unbearable. It can be done within a fellowship of men. If a woman appropriated what birth was like, her decision to conceive would be even more deliberate. As I reflect on fathering, it seems that this is also true for men. The greatest truth is that a Heavenly Father walked this path first and demonstrated that if we can focus on taking care of that relationship, everything will actually work out.

As we put together our Father Wisdom, we would greatly benefit from your input as a father, grandfather, uncle, son or brother. Send your words and insight to [email protected].

The authors' blogs are their own beliefs in their own words. If you wish to know more about what GracePointe Church believes, visit our main site for more details.