I have a recurring dream since I've been sick. I don't share it to evoke pity. I share it to make a point. It is a painful dream, but real nonetheless.
In my dream, I'm on my deathbed in my last moments, and I'm interacting with one of my young children. I'm very anxious in the dream... to the point of being flustered. I can't make up my mind if I want to share more truth from God's Word with my kids, or if I just want to hold them in silence.
I tend to be awoken from the dream in the morning right before it's time to be up for the day. Needless to say, it's a rough way to start the day. Earlier this week, I was truly thankful for a loving wife whom I could lean on as she reminded me we're not there, and we don't have to fear.
I didn't know if I wanted to share the dream on the blog, but after a few iterations, I think there is a point to be made and shared ... especially to parents... and even more so to Fathers.
While we still breathe, we don't have to choose. We can do both. Such is my encouragement to parents and dads: Do Both!
2 reasons why...
Truth #1: Men in the church in general don't speak enough of God's Word into their children's lives. If there is any voice our children need to hear from our mouths, it's the voice of God in His Word. Being a faithful Christian father is way more than bringing your kids to church, enrolling them in the Youth Group and sending them to summer camp in the hopes of a profession of faith. Ephesians 6:4, and many other passages, task us with much more. Mothers are truly impactful to their children's faith, but I argue the testimony of the father in his life and in his speech carries more impact, (especially with sons). My life was changed by a sentence mentioned in passing by a mentor in college: "I still remember my father teaching me this passage...anyway..." Just a passing comment... one that changed my understanding of being a Christian man. Our kids need to know the reality of Christ impacting our life. If we speak His words to our children, they see us reading His Word as a regular part of life's worship and attempting to live under its blessing and authority, it will create an everlasting and concussive impact on their souls.
Truth #2: we probably don't hold our kids enough. I don't care if you think you're "not a hugger." You need to be one. Even teens need them. I still remember my dad's hugs. There was a special peace to his hugs. My favorites were the ones after he had been cooking on the grill. Nothing like a good charcoal hug. I never would have admitted it when I was a teen, but I remember them even today. So... yah, they made an impact. I don't claim to be an expert on the psychology of it, but I do know that there's something about dad's hugs that has a unique way of communicating approval for who they are ... something all of our kids need. Ever since the dreams started, I tend to call the kids over to me more frequently, and I hold them ... differently. While a hug could never capture their preciousness... I try.
Don't become an old man filled with regret that he didn't do enough of these things. You have the choice now: do both... meaningfully and often.