Being a dad is like no other experience on earth.
Although I won’t be so trite as to say that it was love at first sight with either of my children, I will say that it didn’t take long for them to be buried in the depths of my heart.
I can’t being to equate what it’s like having children. I do find it to be funny that most every parent I’ve talked to says nearly the same thing. It usually goes something like, our lives have changed, and continue to change in ways we’ve never imagined, and although a there is a great deal of it that is perplexing, trying, tiring, frustrating, annoying, and the like, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The truth about parenthood is that your kids will stretch you to the breaking point nearly everyday, but they also have an uncanny ability to capture your heart in such a way that will bring you to tears. Of course, this is true in many close relationships, but in parenting it’s somehow deeper, and more impactful than most any other relationship a person can encounter. This makes the love stronger, but it also makes the hurt more intense.
I wonder how often we think about parenthood as a relationship. I wonder how often we work on that relationship. As a father, I muse often on why my son loves me, and trust me in the way he does. This makes me try harder to deserve that trust and love. Just today he stood up and fell into my open arms, and when I say fell, I mean that my hands weren’t quite as close to him as he may have believed them to be. I caught him, but I also had a bit of a heart stopping moment as I lunged toward him to catch him.
This is a good metaphor for parenting. Our children trust us with their happiness, health, education, shaping, in essence they trust us with all they are, and will be. Does this seem strange, or maybe too huge or lofty? Perhaps, but it is the truth. If we fail to see our role as parents, then we fail to fulfill our calling as parents.
Let me also say this. The greatest opportunity we have to change the world in a lasting way is the influence we have among those who will be the leaders of tomorrow. The best opportunity we have in this is with our own children. We shouldn’t just prepare them to “adult”, or even to be productive members of society, but to be leaders, visionaries, and world changers. I do not say this to encourage us to use our children as proxy agents for our agendas, but to encourage each parent to lead their children to never settle for mediocrity. It should never be that a parent just hopes to get their kid out of the house and on their own, but rather that each child, as they approach adulthood, has a clearer sense of purpose in the world. How amazing that we can be entrusted with such a great and honorable task as parents of the next generation!