I don’t know many sons today who want to be like their dad’s. Growing up I never did. I never wanted to be like my father because he disciplined me, told me no to things that would hurt me. He taught me to love those who were different from me and told me to be respectful and straighten up in church.Yeah that last one threw me too. These are just a few things that I look back on and say, “Really? Did I really not see all that he taught me was for my benefit?”. And this is what I looked back on as I remembered my father raising me:
I paid attention to my fathers words, but the example he set for me; I didn’t always imitate. There are things today that I am just now picking up about being a man. This summer dad, myself, and some friends have been building a back deck for my mother. Oh she loves it! The deck isn’t quite finished, but she has gotten to sit out in the early mornings drinking coffee while watching the cows below the hill graze. Maybe it was because a girl came into my life that I wanted to learn the many things that I never asked dad to teach me when I was younger. I was too involved in video games, friends, and my room that I never reached out to my dad when he would invite me to help him fix the tractor, or go fishing, or build feeders. Yes, there are many times he griped at me, and told me “those are your cows to you need to get out here and help”. So I would. But when my mind should have been on learning how to piece together a feed trough or how to work some of the tools, and equipment dad taught me, it would be somewhere else. I helped him get a lot of things done, but I never took initiative to lead in some of the projects dad and I did together. Then college hit, and “I had to study” became my excuse. Even at times “I need to read my Bible or go to a church event” became my alternative excuse to avoid hard labor like farm work. My dad and grandfather are two men that I should have learned from instead of my peers.
In the church today there are men like Darrin Patrick, Eric Mason, and John Piper who are trying to reach out to their congregations to restore manhood. The restoration of biblical manhood is a great need today in the life of the church. I am seeing that as I grow up, and as much as I see my friends whose dads were never there for them I see how much in my own life I was never there for my dad.
We golfed together, grilled together at times, and would talk church government during Sunday lunches. We did a lot of things together. Pictures would tell you a lot more than about our relationship, and if you looked inside our home my father did what was expected of him as an elder of the church. He not only kept our immediate family together (not to mention because he had a godly woman as a wife) but he kept the whole family together. He takes care of my grandmother who lost her husband, and my fathers dad back in 1994. He has made sure she had a place to live, someone to take care of her, and a running vehicle. In 1 Timothy 5:3 Paul says, “Honor widows who are truly widows”. Dad I lived a lot of this verse. I remember when I was around 7 or 8 and we would go around dropping meals off at shut-ins homes. It was through a program called “Meals on Wheels”. He showed me a lot about what it means to care for others, and to “count others more significant than yourself.” These things I picked up, but the solid work ethic I am still trying to learn.
My dad has been a father figure to a lot of my friends. I remember I used to be ashamed of the house my dad built, when I was in high school, but when I was younger we would have my friends over all the time. He and my mother would do anything to make sure their only child would have a blast! Though my selfishness got in the way a lot of the time the Lord brought many young men through the house that my dad was able to show what a god fearing man was like.
Like the title says “Like my father” will be something he has always told me that he wants me to be a better one than he was. I look back at my hurtful remarks that I said out of spite after being disciplined. I told him I would not discipline my kids the way he disciplined me, but I find it is very false now. If a father loves his kid enough he will discipline them, which is training them in the right way they should go. I find this verse very useful and reflective on how my father raised me:
“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I am glad I am not old yet, because I have a lot of training left. I am thankful that I will be in Russellville near my family for another year. I am thankful that my dad is still teaching me how to be a better man, and the other men that God has placed in my life to be other good godly examples. But at the end of the day I know who I want to be like; my father.
Now many of you know my story. I was adopted at the age of 3 months, and raised by two American parents. I may not look like my father, or be as tall as him, or have his humor, but if you are around us enough you will know where I get most of my mannerisms from. I hope you are able to see the same willingness in his life as well in my life that we are trying to be “conformed in the likeness of the image of His Son”. That is why I want to be like my father. He wants to be like Jesus. He didn’t go through seminary, and he is not a pastor. But he loves his wife, and is faithful to her. He works hard with his hands. He has raised a good family, and has faith in Jesus Christ his Lord.
This month I will turn 23 and he will turn 58. I have been his and my mothers son for 22+ years. I hope to continue to bring honor to them as I become less dependent on them, and as matter of fact less dependent on myself. God has taught me recently how dependence on Him is the only way. If you trust in God you depend on God. What a father we have in God. Who gives us every good thing. A God who gives us more than we could ask or think. Whose ways are immeasurable whose love is steadfast, whose patience is eternal, and word is truth. Ultimately the only way to be a good father, and to be a father that sons want to be like is to be like the Father who’s Mighty Sovereign Hand sent His Son to be the propitiation of sins, and imputed His righteousness to us so that we might become children of God. My earthly dad has given up a lot for me, but my Heavenly Father made a way for me to be “brought to Him”.
Suggested books to read about manhood: Manhood Restored by Eric Mason, Church Planter by Darrin Patrick, What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham, and Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper
In Him who is able,