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My son's card to his Dad couldn't have been more appropriate. It read, "Being a father sure, it's a tough job but at least the pay's uh, the pay's not so good, but at least the hours are gee, the hours are terrible, too Well, you DO get to raise kids like me! Gosh, Dad, you didn't think things through before you got into this mess, did you?"
No, we didn't think things through before we had kids. Who does? We didn't know that it would cost us more than $150,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. We didn't know it would take our life's savings to send them to college. We didn't know we would have to spend so much time teaching, modeling right behavior, and giving emotional support. We didn't know we would spend half our life at little league games, volleyball practices, piano recitals, and PTA meetings and the other half on our knees praying for guidance in how to raise this precious gift from God. Maybe if we had thought things through more, we would have chosen not to have children. I don't know. How many of us would sign up for the journey if we really knew what it entailed? But I do know one thing. We don't regret for one minute the decision we made to have children. (For one second, maybe, but never a minute!) And I also know that my kids lucked out when they got the father God gave them.
Father's are really unsung heroes. Yes, I know there are millions of deadbeat dads who conceive and leave, millions who don't pay child support, and millions who may live at the same home with their children but can't be bothered with them. But there are just as many who changed a dirty diaper, who missed a business meeting to see little Susie be a carrot in the school play on nutrition, and who stayed up until midnight helping little Johnny construct a lava-exploding volcano for the science project. These guys are out there, but you don't hear much about them. As Bill Cosby says, "Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope."
Our society likes to negate the role of fatherhood. They can negate it all they want but studies show that children growing up in fatherless homes are more likely to go to prison, commit suicide, have behavioral problems, drop out from school, run away, and have a lower standard of living. Studies also show that children with active dads are more ambitious, more competent, and less susceptible to peer pressure. Is it any wonder that God is referred to as our heavenly Father?
God is the ultimate role model in the area of fatherhood. God is the perfect father (Matthew 5:48). God is love (1 John 4:16) and He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). He treasures us (Exodus 19:5). He calls us His children (1 John 3:1). He wants to give us every good gift (James 1:17)(Matthew 7:11). He's our provider (Matthew 6:31-33). He's concerned for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). He delights in our accomplishments (Zephaniah 3:17). He encourages us (2 Thessalonians 2:16). He comforts us (2 Corinthians 1:3). He loved us so much that He sent someone to die for us (John 3:16-17) so we could be saved, not condemned (Romans 8:31-32). And when we turn to Him, He rejoices (Luke 15:7). What better role model for fatherhood could we have?
So active, loving Dads, I salute you. Next time it's 9 p.m. and your kid says he forgot to tell you he needs a replica of Mt. Everest for geography class tomorrow, remember that what you're doing is helping him climb the highest mountain there is. LIFE!
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