One of my greatest joys, highest honors and weightiest responsibilities in my life is the role of being a father to our three children, Hannah, Abby, and Lucas. Like many dads, I struggle to see the urgent value of playing legos on the floor when there are so many “adult” things I need to be doing, whether for work or around the house. It strikes me that it is nearly always more comfortable for me to do a task or something work-related than it is to play with light-sabers, jump on the trampoline, or draw cartoons with tiny people who sometimes behave like Neanderthals.
But what do my kids really need from me? Sure, they need their physical needs met, so I am responsible for working to provide for their physical needs. But who told us that our physicality should always trump our emotional development as humans? Equally important, is the child’s need for healthy emotional intelligence, confidence, self-esteem, social strength and power – all of which primarily come from a sense of security in their relationships with Mom and Dad.
I see way too many young dads on the ball field literally yelling at their kindergartener for not playing well enough on the field, or for acting “stupid” on the sideline. It makes me sad…and furious, actually, because the only one acting “stupid” at that moment is the ego-insulted dad.
Since meeting this high relational demand goes directly against the grain of what men learn today about manhood and masculine identity, we at Pro Deo are compelled to build a ministry that will make a small dent in changing this culture, by providing tools, resources and a community of support that will enable us as fathers to prioritize our most important relationships, and to see this relational work as the highest priority of our lives in this season of child-rearing.
Stay tuned for this development.