Looking Back to Look Forward

Being a Father

 

Being a father means being imperfect, yet striving to be a representative of our Heavenly Father. Childrens’ first introduction to fatherhood, and ultimately their Heavenly Father, is what they get through their Earthly dad. As fathers, we can wound our kids in many ways; some of us are present and some of us aren’t. Even the best dads are going to be insufficient in some way but thankfully God’s grace covers our weaknesses.

 

My goal as a dad is to emulate the Father’s love, justice, mercy, grace, instruction, and discipline to my kids so that they have a healthy relationship with me. I want my kids to know they are loved and they have worth, not because of what they do, but because they are my children. I encourage them to obey and live life with a certain standard because I, in my wisdom over them, know that it will benefit them to live a certain way as opposed to another. There are times when I fail or mess up and need to ask my kids for forgiveness. It’s my responsibility to be honest with them and show them that daddy needs forgiveness just as much as they do.

 

My Father

 

I was blessed with a very strong father who was very present in my life growing up; he always taught me right from wrong as well as what it means to be a man of God. Though I learned a lot of great things from my dad, the one thing that I struggled with at times—though I often put this on myself—was the feeling that I needed to perform. Knowing that I have this “perfectionist gene” in me, this feeling that I needed to earn my dad’s approval when in fact I didn’t, I now tend to go overboard to make sure my kids know that, no matter what they do, their value does not change. We have a high standard in our house but my kids know that my love for them is not dependent on their behavior.

 

My father looks smarter to me every day. Some of the rules that he put in place in our house, that I didn’t understand when I was growing up, now make sense to me. Though I hated these rules at the time, I now see why he put them in place and how he’s prevented me from having to deal with or experience certain situations. In his wisdom, he knew what was best for me when I didn’t and he was willing to stick by that. Some parents fold but I’m thankful that mine did not; I’m thankful that I had a tremendously godly father in my life.

 

I see the same phenomenon happen in my walk with God. He often has a different plan for me and my family than I would have. He brought us to New Orleans; I would not have chosen that path but now as I look back, I see how faithful God is and why He has brought us where He has. I know the same thing is going to happen for us as we transition to Baltimore. We don’t always know where God is going to lead us or why, but we can rest in His faithfulness. There were times growing up when my dad made choices, like planting a church in South Carolina and many others, that many people questioned or doubted, but my dad’s answer was always, “This is where God is leading us.” He was obedient first and foremost to God and then to his family—this is the kind of father that I want to be as well.

 

—Benjamin Watson

Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.

Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/benjaminwatson/
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