Being a Father
Over Christmas, as my son and I sat talking, I told him that my greatest regret as a father was not being able to pass more of my life experience onto him before while he was yet at home.
Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am a shamelessly proud father; and why shouldn’t I be.
My son worked hard to be an academic standout and to become an accomplished classical clarinetist. He had a very successful professional athletic career before retiring five years ago. Now he is well on his way to enjoying the same success in his business career. He has worked hard to accomplish what he has, nothing was given to him nor did I teach or encourage him to look for something for nothing.
I taught him that there was no limit to what he could accomplish as long as he kept his priorities right and was willing to work hard. But most importantly, he was raised from birth in a Christian home.
But none of these things are what I am talking about. The point I am making is that no matter what he accomplishes he will always be a few decades short of the life experience I bring to the table.
Said point being that I’ve lived longer, seen more, experienced more, made more mistakes, and learned more lessons the hard way. That affords me valuable life, business and social experiences that can be of massive help to him. It enables me to share with him how to recognize the subtle forms of double speak and business-speak. My nearly 50 years of political experience allow me to share unique insights that will help him to see through falsity. My 36 years as a Christian, my 34 years in ministry and my 32 years as an ordained minister are critical resources at his disposal as he faces the harsh storms and wonderful blessings from the Lord.
I believe that as a father my job as teacher is not over until I die. Therein comes the balancing act of being there to offer experience when he asks and knowing when to give it even though he hasn’t asked.
I never wanted to be a father who went drinking with their child, notwithstanding neither of us drink; I wanted to be the dad who was there for his child. I wanted to be the father who sat and talked with his son, sharing valuable life lessons, discussing business and sharing the Lord. Even when we go to ballgames or tennis tournaments we spend the most time dissecting the technical aspects of play.
At this stage of my life, I view myself as an old ram standing with his young successor looking out over the valley sharing the hard earned wisdom of my years. I do not want my son to be like me, I want him to be better than me. I want him to avoid the pitfalls and wrong turns that I made.
It enrages me when I see so-called fathers who are leading their children to the same cliff that they themselves fell off. I’m offended by fathers who teach, instill and contribute less than nothing to the lives of their child or children. In many cases the fathers are more juvenile than their child.
My closest friends and I shared similar fatherly ideologies for our children, with the one exception being I am the only father in my tightly knit circle of friends who has “Rev.” as a prefix before their name.
I’m not getting any younger as the saying goes; and my heart’s desire is for my son to live his life and raise his children in the paths of Lord and as assets to the world around them.
I love being a dad. It is the one thing I always wanted to be and I’m not ashamed to say that God has blessed me to do a pretty good job of it. But I want to do more to prepare my child for the future should the Lord tarry and bless us with long years. I want my son to have a heart for the unsaved and fields white unto harvest for the Lord. I want him to love God more than he does me. I want him to be strong but I also want him to be biblically meek.
I want him to forge his own way, but I also want my son to benefit from the gift of my experiences.
After Christmas, on our way to the airport, the business deal my son has been working on for several months was finalized. I smiled inwardly when I heard him thank the bankers and legals involved in bringing the deal to conclusion, for their hard work and for going the extra mile to make the deal happen. I was enormously proud of him because he had spent most of the Christmas holiday working to finalize the deal.
As fathers how can we not want our sons and daughters to succeed beyond us? My pastor and I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of being a father. We do it because the effect of same, be it positive or negative, has an enormous effect on the church family.
Being a father doesn’t mean being soft nor does it mean being overbearing. It means being consistent and it means taking a hands on approach in the life of the child. It also means remembering who is the child, who is the adult and comporting oneself according. It may also mean pointing out danger. I speak of pointing out the danger that will come from a woman that as a parent, we know is wrong for them. It may be the danger of making an investment that looks good on the surface but is a mistake in reality. Danger comes packaged in many disguises and as fathers it is prudent upon us to be an extra set of eyes for our children.
It is also good for us to share our thoughts and concerns, such as they arise, with our spouse, which is why the value of a Godly wife cannot be overstated.
It grieves me when I see boys so overcome with love for their fathers that even though they know their father is leading them astray they follow, because they are so starved for a relationship with him.
There are no moments more special to me as a father than to attend church and bible study with our son. Attending church together has been special to us his entire life.
Let me close with this. I did not share this to boast or make myself out to be more than I am. I shared it to encourage fathers to be Godly fathers. I shared it to encourage fathers to share with others the importance of being responsible fathers.
There are Christian fathers who are reading this who are saying that they did the very best before God that they could do and yet their child has become defiant, disobedient and not living as they were raised. I tell you that there are fathers and mothers reading this who need to hear how you handle that because it is difficult for them.
I’m sharing as I have because we live in a day and age in which we have so-called “blended families”, i.e., married couples with children from a previous marriage. We need fathers to speak up on the importance of obeying God’s word regarding relationships and the sanctity of marriage and the marriage bed.
I’ve been blessed as a father as many reading this have also been. Said being the case, we need to share that with others so they too can benefit from our experiences as fathers. Is that not what scriptures tell us to do?
It is my personal opinion that chapter two of the New Testament Book “Titus,” is just as applicable to being a father as it is to doing the pastoral work of a true minister. Christ Himself calls fathers to be the head of the home. I will say this, that as fathers, if we are not raising our children and specifically our sons in the fear and admonition of the Lord, we are failing. One way to determine if we are doing that is to think about how many of our conversations are on some aspect of the Lord. I’m not talking about a rigid religiosity, that is nothing more than a manmade set of edicts. I am talking about being servants to God.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here