Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fatherhood foreward

Below is something I wrote as a foreward for a book of fatherhood stories. For some reason it made me cry and I don't know why...but kinda I do. Why do I post it here? Maybe it will make you cry too...or maybe you'll just think I'm a girl for crying.

FOREWARD

Every man is a dual personality – a veritable Jekyll and Hyde.

On one hand, we will always be sons. We will always be boys at heart. The desire for strength and longing for adventure that filled our days with wrestling, sports competition, flexing, running, playing, showing off, jumping off roofs, and riding bikes like daredevils; never truly leaves the man’s heart. If you watch a man, you’ll see it. The body gets older and slower and fatter perhaps; but the twinkle in the eye of most men reveals that the little boy remains no matter what the age.

On the other hand, most of us grow up to be fathers. We still feel the need to be strong and continue to long for adventure, but more than that we feel the need to be responsible. No one really tells us about this overwhelming feeling or explains how it should be done. All we know is that when we have kids we feel the weight of responsibility. We feel responsible to love our kids, to set an example for them, to teach them what we know, to supply their emotional and physical needs, to discipline them and to help them grow.

Because these two roles are only assumed by humans they are filled with mistakes and mess ups and unfulfilled longings. Many of us wish our fathers had done something differently: spent more time with us, hugged us more, been around, encouraged us, laughed with us more, not been as gruff, taken us on more trips, taught us more about life and God, affirmed our strength and adventure, and confirmed for us our manhood. And similarly, most of us question our fathering skills: Am I spending, or did I spend enough time with my kids? Do I need to tell them more, show them more, that I love them? Have I confirmed and affirmed who I believe God created my children to be? Have I taught my children to love God? Have I prayed enough for them?

And in the middle of all of this is a heavenly father that is all we wish we had and all we wish we were. He is the Father who made us and loves us without condition. He is the Father who has sacrificed everything for our good. He is the Father who is always there to listen. He is the Father who has plans for each one of his children and encourages the strength and the longing for adventure he placed in their hearts. He daily teaches us about life and eternity through sunrises, mountains, oceans, birds, smiles, storms, and relationships. In short, God is the perfect Father.

May these stories of fatherhood and faith speak to that inner boy who longs to run and may it speak to that inner father who longs to leave a legacy. And may this book encourage you to be the father that our Father has created you to be.

Mike Baker
April 2009

4 comments:

kyle said...

The foreword is great.
What's the book's title?!

Mike Baker said...

it's a book being compiled by the men in our church for a trip they are making to Dominican Republic. Don't know of it's availability, but i'll keep you posted.

Tim said...

awesome - and you're not a girl for crying :) Jen

Chad Thoma said...

The book's (English) title is "Reflections of a Father." The Spanish title is "Reflejos de un Padre." We are going to order some extra copies and have available in the Harvest Bookstore - all proceeds will go toward future mission teams to the DR. Thanks again, Mike for writing the awesome foreword!
Chad