In our home, Technology Man is the father of his three children. By that I mean he participated biologically in their conception. That’s what a father is right? But is that where the responsibilities or involvement end? Is that all that is required of a man to become a father? To bring forth a child into the world? Maybe so, since that event IS what separates the names by definition. This is what I’ve been mulling over for the last few weeks.
There’s a fundamental difference though between being a father and being a dad. Helping create a new life is what changes a man into a father. But being a dad has connotations of endearment, involvement, hands-on experience, and memories! It takes effort, sacrifice and determination on a father’s part to fight off all the “stuff” of life that stands in the way of his being an involved dad. I know for Technology Man, he has to stay intentional or all the other “opportunities” in his life will crowd it out. A lot of time it comes down to discerning between what is good and what is best. Those are tough choices.
Dads are providers and designed that way. Their kids know dad will take care of them. Dads are protectors and defenders by instinct. Their children find security in their arms, words and actions. Dads are teachers and coaches. They want to pass on wisdom and skills to help their children grow mentally and physically. Dads are spiritual leaders. It’s up to them to pass on their morals and faith to their children.
Dads are disciplinarians and grace givers. They know where the line has been crossed and when it is time for discipline, but they also have the ability to quickly forgive and offer their kids a clean slate each morning. Dads model life-style outcomes. More is caught than taught in areas of language, alcohol, education, exercise, work-ethic, faithfulness and loyalty. Dads pray for their kids. They know at some point their offspring will venture out into the world on their own two feet and they’ve been preparing for it all along.
Dad is the Divinely Appointed Decision-maker and leader of the family. His kids can count on his decisions as being final. Dads can be unpredictable silly at just the right time. They can turn a stressful moment into relief or a tension filled moment into laughter by doing the unexpected. The kids love it and remember it. Dads are involved in what interests their kids. They bust it to attend the soccer game or art show or ballet performance or recital or swim meet or open house or concert. Dads show generosity towards their families as well as those around them. It’s perhaps the first tangible example of God’s grace and mercy that kids experience and really understand. When Dad doesn’t give them what they do deserve and does give them what they don’t deserve, it is the perfect picture of what our Heavenly Father did for them for their eternal security.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” said Juliet as written by Shakespeare. But sadly not all fathers are called dads. Some men may become fathers simply by default. Those who take no further action are robbing themselves and their children of a beautiful relationship. Being a dad takes patience, persistence and planning. Technology Man says being called Dad is precious and he never gets tired of hearing it. I am blessed to have a husband who takes his role seriously and realizes the high octane impact he can have on the trajectory of his children’s lives. What’s in the name, Dad? Everything!
What’s the difference between father and dad to you? How can we reach out to those who don’t have a father or dad present in their lives?