“Great! Another Dad Lecture!”
This morning was one of those rare times that I was actually home for breakfast. My daughter was jokingly boasting about something, and I, semi-jokingly chided her about being arrogant. She said, “Dad, why do you have to make everything into a lesson on life?”, to which my wife quickly responded, “’cause that’s what daddies do.”
Why do we do it, dads? Why do we subject our kids to incessant instruction, when sound bites from our own patriarchal lecture series ring loudly in our own heads? I distinctly remember my father walking around our house in his (then stylish, now uncomfortably short) Cougar-blue robe (it was an omen for me), shutting off virtually every light in our house, plunging us all into inky darkness as he lectured us on the value of money, which, we were informed, was neither the native flora of our backyard nor the matter of which his body consisted. At the time, I rolled my eyes, thinking, “here we go again!,” followed by, “I’m never going to do this to my kids!” Yet, here I am, catching myself with alarming, disturbing frequency, channeling John W. Ferguson, Sr. (I’m “junior”) in my dealings with my own kids. Why?
-Even though it drove me nuts at the time, most of what I learned about hard work and how to use money wisely—that, while it was important, it was only a tool and not what gave me value- I learned from being lectured by that tall, balding guy in the short blue robe.
-I still remember most of, most of those lectures. They still stick with me to this day, and they form the foundation of many of my own particularly eloquent offerings.
-Most of the time, Dad was right. Even when he wasn’t, his lectures always forced me to come to terms with my own ideas, and served as a catalyst for helping me think and believe as my own man.
-Most importantly, it’s what our Heavenly Father tells us to do. Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we’re to teach God’s Word all of the time, everywhere we go, every time we have our children with us. I’ve never been a good family devotional guy. Maybe ADD; never really saw it in action; visions of Ned Flanders dancing in my mind; probably a host of other not very commendable reasons. But, I have learned that if God’s Word is right there, on my heart, and I’m spending time with my kids, He’s bringing me constant opportunities to instruct my kids in the Lord. Like, this morning at breakfast.
-Our Father doesn’t just tell us to instruct our kids; He models that for us. When you have a chance, go back and look at Job 38 through 41. In addition to being an earth-shattering exposition of God’s power and sovereignty, it’s also probably the best “Dad Lecture” of all time (who hasn’t wanted to tell their kids “gird up your loins; I have a few questions for you, young man?”). Our Father taught us by words and actions through Jesus, our older brother. He teaches us daily still, through life in all of its painful goodness.
As usual, my wife was right this morning- this is what daddies do. And, whether it was my father, or your father, or our Heavenly Father, deep in our hearts, where we would NEVER admit it to our dads, we crave those lectures, don’t we? Crave them still. Because, even when we pretended to hear, “blah, blah, blah”, what we really heard is “I love you.”