Last week I jumped into a little series where I’ll be revisiting my points from this message I gave last year on Father’s Day. I had been a father for only a few months when I gave that message so I took the opportunity to set out on paper and in public my goals and ideals for being a father. Now that I’ve made it one full year as a father I figured it would be a good time to go back and see how things have been going. In the message I use the story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis as a framework for my goals.
Last week I covered the first point of my message which was about speaking words as God spoke in creation. Today we’ll examine another sense referenced in the Creation narrative. As important as speaking to my daughter, I need to see who God created her to be. As her father, I can shape and mold her life in various ways, but ultimately she is a unique creation and will have her own ideas, passions and talents.
Seeing Potential – I am not only called to speak into her life, but to also try and see what is already there and encourage development and growth. She already has God given potential that I need to see and help cultivate. Genesis tells us that God was hovering over the pre-creation waters. In that formless and empty void he saw potential for a far greater purpose and function than just emptiness. The same can be said of the great artists, like Michelangelo who stood in front of a large, unformed block of marble and saw the potential for the great statue of David. As a father, I should not be spending most of my time just speaking and telling her what to do. I need to see her for who she was created to be. It is almost more important to watch her, see the passion in her own eyes, as we both begin to discover the unique person she is. I actually get a lot of joy out of this as a father. Just watching her play and interact with the world around her as she discovers her place in it and what she can do is one of the greatest blessings of being a parent. It can be tough to see at this early stage in life when practically everything is new. But, when she randomly bends over and wants help doing a somersault I might begin to wonder if there’s a little gymnast in there. Or, as she suddenly begins dancing to a song, maybe there’s some musical talent waiting to burst through her little fingers or dance out of her toes. If I’m only seeing what I want to see, I may miss who she wants to be seen as.
Letting Go – A bit of a disclaimer, I came up with this idea well before Frozen came out and burned a song with a similar theme into our collective ears. That aside, along with seeing the potential and helping her grasp her unique abilities, I will often need to let go and let her discover who she is on her own. She is not just our creation to hold on to and horde. Because she is also a creation of God, I will need to regularly let go of my plans and dreams for her in order for her to become that person God created her to be. Letting go can be the toughest thing to do as a parent because it means admitting that I am not God. My plans are not always God’s plans and there may be a better life out there for my daughter than the one I want to create for her. I may need to just step back and watch as she goes into her first day of Kindergarten, attends her first sleepover, asks for the car keys the first time, and when she chooses to walk down the aisle with another person she has chosen to love and join her life with. At a basic level, this also means letting go of some fears. Well…probably a lot of fears. Parents can have a pretty strong protective instinct and I know I would go to great lengths to prevent my daughter from getting hurt. Again, it’s pretty early in the game to let her go in any significant fashion. But, letting her go down a slide without holding her, dropping her off at daycare or even just simply letting her play without feeling like I need to direct or structure her time can all be small opportunities to let her learn on her own who she is and what she can do.
These first two weeks have been about what my role as a father is in helping my daughter become the best person she can be. Next week I’ll spend some time exploring the ways that I develop as a person in my role as a father. I’ll look at the ways that my daughter can actually help me grow and mature and become more of the person God created me to be.