I had an experience over the weekend in which I was reminded of a subtle but very powerful word of wisdom for fathers. If you are a stay-at-home father this advice becomes critical because of your increased exposure to your children. But, if you are an outside-the-home working father this advice becomes even more critical since the time you have with your children is even more greatly reduced.
The scene was that of watching my 7 year old daughter, Sarah, learning to ride her bike without training wheels for the first time. Sarah is a daredevil of a kid in some respects - the first to jump off furniture, scamper onto a ladder, or climb out our 2nd story window to help clean gutters. But she is also vexingly scared to death of things like speed, loud noises, or hurting herself. Now, why she hasn't fully put together the hurting herself part with the walking on the roof part I don't know.
Anyway, over the last year or two she has been desperately afraid of going too fast down one of the smaller hills in our subdivision and that was all it took to seemingly kill her interest of attempting to ride a bike at all, let alone a bike without training wheels. Today, however, was different. It was one of the first really warm weekend days and Sarah just decided. She decided to ride…..with no training wheels.
I didn't see her maiden voyage. What I saw was Sarah bounding into the kitchen, where I was sitting at the table, and announcing to me that she can now ride her bike without training wheels. "What?" I exclaimed, "Seriously?" She was all smiles and confirmed her report and invited me outside to watch. So outside we went.
I held the camera while her mother balanced her and gave her a push and off she went. Sure enough she was pedaling on her own - no helmet or pads either. She turned around in the middle of street and came back without incident. Wow. We shouted praise and celebratory words of affirmation over her accomplishment.
Then came getting started again. The information for getting her pedal in the best "take-off" position, the technique for doing so, and how to push off with the opposite leg was what she needed to know and I was giving it to her. Helping - so I thought. She, however was getting frustrated and angry. The more I corrected and tried to help the worse the situation was getting. Then I was reminded of Colossians 3:21 which reads "Fathers do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged."
Interesting that fathers are singled out for this very direct command. Why? Because history and human nature prove that fathers are uniquely prone to do just that - to discourage our children and embitter them against us. Whole books have been written on the subject so I digress from going further here but, suffice it to say, it is critical in moments like these men how you handle yourself. We can be our children's biggest cheerleaders providing the wind beneath their wings as they soar into life or be one of their greatest sources of frustration and irritation…of becoming embittered. I didn't want that.
"How can I help you, honey?" I asked after shifting strategies.
"I don't need any help," came her reply.
"Okay. I'll just watch."
"Yeah Dad," she replied, "just watch."
So, I watched, and smiled, and (hopefully) kept the moment a happy one for her.comments powered by Disqus