“Fatherhood is not for the faint of heart; and you only lose if you quit—not when you fail.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 21, 2021
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Todd is our first of four sons-in-law, so naturally being the first I have learned a lot from Todd in how to love and support him in the most helpful way. And, not surprisingly, my admiration for Todd has accelerated over the past 15 months, as I’ve watched him grow and mature as a business leader, husband, father and follower of Christ. In honor of all fathers, I would like to reflect on five lessons I am learning from my son-in-law as it relates to fatherhood:
Be With Those Who Love You The Most
Todd’s business prior to COVID was selling software to international airlines. When his travel came to a screeching halt, instead of blaming the circumstances, he took advantage of the new found blocks of time to be with his wife and three young sons. He told me recently, “If it took a global pandemic to remind me who is most important in my life, then I would go through this again. I feel like I truly know my boys, they know me and my marriage is the strongest it’s ever been.”
Be Secure In Your Identity In Christ
Todd has always been a faithful follower of Jesus, but his work had begun to compete with how he valued himself. If he closed a deal, well he must be valuable and important, but if no one called back, or there was a season of no sales—there must be something wrong with him. But during the lockdown, the Lord’s love showed him that he was a beloved son in whom his heavenly Father was well pleased. Todd showed his own sons their belovedness by his affirmation.
Be Empathic, Especially To Your Wife
Todd learned early on that this pandemic would require extra patience, especially in his relationship with his wife, my daughter. Having their home transformed into a school for the boys and some of the neighbors was adventurous and stressful. Todd asked Rebekah if it would be helpful for him to take care of the boys from the time they awakened until 8am, so she could exercise, have a quiet time and prepare for the day. No surprise at her reply, a grateful yes!
Be Creative During Difficult Days
Todd is an entrepreneur at heart. So, during the COVID Christmas holidays, he fully embraced the idea that his sons had on creating a day camp for the neighborhood children—Camp Happy Trails! The camp was complete with games, obstacle courses, and for an additional small cost, kids could stay for a lunch time Christmas movie. Todd participated daily, even dressing up to be the surprise guest reader. Parents were grateful to have a break and the children loved being together and having fun. The three boys also recruited their cousins to serve on the camp staff! Wise dads invest in creativity.
Be Teachable To Learn From Other Fathers
Todd never stops learning—which is a huge key to success as a dad. Finding fathers worth following who are a few steps ahead in age and stage of life is a proven way to improve! He learns from his dad, he learns from me (mostly what not to do, ha!). He learns from dads at work and at church. He is a master at asking good questions, like, “How do you love each child equally, yet uniquely?”—then he attentively listens to learn. Especially during the last 15 months Todd has stepped up his personal growth, earning his Fatherhood Masters degree! Todd, thanks for teaching me.
Fatherhood is not for the faint of heart; and you only lose if you quit—not when you fail. Failure is your heavenly Father’s opportunity to love you through your mistakes and make you more like Him. And full disclosure: we are blessed with three more sons-in-law just like Todd. Thank you, Lord!
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and strike the land with complete destruction” (Malachi 4:6, NASB).
Heavenly Father, grow my love as a father like you love me as a Father, through Christ’s love, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who is a father a few steps ahead of me that I can meet with to learn from?
Chris Tomlin: Good Good Father
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