Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for taking the time to join me once again for the Monday Marriage Message. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today. We continue now with our series Parenting 101, this is Session 5. Welcome!
In past sessions of this series, I made the point that I believe God has uniquely created us as men and women to be especially suited for differing tasks as dads and moms. I understand that in our current social climate it is not popular to conclude that gender in any way differentiates us or predisposes us to respond to others in specific ways. Furthermore, I am fully aware that my belief that a loving and gracious God, far superior to us in His thoughts, reasons and abilities, has created us specifically to do so only serves to further distance me from mainstream thinking. Truth however is true, not determined by popular persuasion…regardless of how many may denounce it. God’s word is the one and only source of all truth, as such; I will continue to count on it unwaveringly to guide my counsel, and these podcasts. His word clearly indicates that He created us as men and women very differently from one another so that when He joins us in marriage we gain exponentially greater capacity to reflect Him. In light of this truth, it is also clear that those very differences enable us to parent uniquely from one another and yet cohesively. It is crucial that we remember, we are not intended to reflect one another as parents, if you and your spouse were identical one of you would be completely unnecessary. Instead as couples, we are to reflect our Almighty Creator. It should be easy for us to accept that singularly we are ill equipped for that task, but joined together in marriage; we have greater capacity to excel at each of the differing parenting roles He exhibits.
Last week I spent our time together looking at three of those roles women are especially created to perform as mothers. I pointed out that not only were women created to be capable of those specific tasks as their children grow, but that female bodies were in fact, wondrously fashioned to be able to do each of those three things even as they carry their unborn children in pregnancy. Not only are men unable to be pregnant (no matter what idiocy pop culture may be peddling these days) they are not created to carry out the three tasks mentioned last week, Tending, Mending and Defending with near the ability moms are. Men were created to parent completely differently, which we will look at today. It is interesting to note that unlike moms, the three parenting roles we will identify today as being uniquely dad roles are unable to be performed prior to the birth of the child.
In Session Three of this series on parenting I demonstrated the biblical basis for my belief that God performs all six of the parental roles we as moms and dads are supposed to fulfill for our children. If mothers reflect God by Tending to the needs of, Mending the brokenness of and Defending their children, then logical deduction would indicate that fathers are to Direct, Correct, and Project or prepare for launch, those same children. I mentioned last week that the three parental jobs of a mom are best filled by a relational thinker who requires love be the primary consideration in all her relationships. Her relational thinking enables her to constantly take note of and meet all of the needs her child might have. When joined with her primary need to give and receive love, she is uniquely suited to notice any brokenness and make course corrections to mitigate the difficulty causing them. Those same qualities support her innate need to defend her child from anything or anyone who might pose a threat to her child in either of the other two arenas.
In the same way men are created to excel at reflecting the other parental characteristics of God. He was created specifically to fill the roles of Direction, Correction and Projection. His compartmentalized thinking allows for direction day after day, even if that direction must be repeated seemingly ad nauseam. How? Perhaps the direction is the same…but it is a different day, hour or sometimes even a different minute. This is not to say that fathers don’t ever become frustrated with the need to point in the same direction repeatedly, only that their compartmentalized thinking makes them more suited to do so. Fathers see each occasion to direct their child as an opportunity to speak into their child’s life, and does not have the same tendency to connect one to another as a mother would. She might view the need for repeated direction a sign of failure while a father sees it as opportunity to further success.
Additionally, a father’s compartmentalized thinking prepares him to be equally understanding with the process of correction. He can correct over and again knowing it to be a necessity for the child to accept re-direction. A father’s primary need for respect in relationships also equips him for this role. This need casts a spotlight on a child resisting his direction making correction an obvious and unfortunate necessity. While moms often view correction as harsh and punishing, dads see it differently. While punishment may occasionally be utilized as a tool in the process of correction, a good father’s heart is never to punish a child for having a will, but rather help the child harness that will to chase after things that are worthwhile. Godly correction always seeks to halt harmful direction and exchange it for a healthy heading.
As a side note to the task of correction I want to make the point that this can be one of the areas that cause a seeming conflict between a mom and a dad and their respective parental tasks. As I mentioned, one of moms tasks is to defend, this can cause her to see a father’s correction as something her child needs defending against. Many times a mother’s heart will find correction too strong or harsh. She may appear to be arguing with her husband over the corrective measures or may even try to stop a correction while it is being carried out. While this may be normal, barring abuse, it is unfitting. As stated previously, both parents are not naturally gifted for all roles of parenting. There are times when what we observe our spouse doing in the course of parenting will not only seem contrary to what we would do in the same situation, it will seem contradictory to what we are trying to accomplish as a parent. In those moments we should remember the offense, defense analogy of the football team. Though they each treat the ball arguably in opposite ways, both interactions are necessary to win the game. Good questions to ask ourselves in these instances are; Is my spouse a good person? Do I trust them to love our child and want what is best for them? Do I want my child to learn the things my spouse is trying to instill in them at this moment? Am I uncomfortable right now because of the lesson being taught, or because of the method being used to teach it? Questions like these make it easier to allow our spouse to be the parent God has created them to be. Remember, parents are not supposed to be reflective of one other, together they are intended to be reflective of God. Most of us can find examples in the bible of times God treated His people in ways we do not personally understand, but that does not make Him wrong.
Finally, a father’s job is to Project or prepare his child for launch into the world. Last week I mentioned that I have a theory that upon holding their child for the first time a mother’s initial thought is, “I am going to be this baby’s mommy forever.” I gave example of how even now, my own mom still tries to do the same things for me that she has been doing since I was first a twinkle in her eye. Conversely, I have a theory about dads as well and what goes through their minds when they are first handed that little bundle of life. I believe most of them to think, “I have a limited amount of time to get this done.” With a future “launch date” in mind, fathers tend to do everything considering this day will arrive, ostensibly sooner than later. Nearly if not all of a dad’s direction and correction is in anticipation of a day they will no longer be right there to make sure all goes well. One of my favorite verses about fathering speaks directly of “launch date” and that it is clearly a father’s duty. Psalm 127:3-5 says Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of an archer, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. This scripture compares children to arrows in the hand of an archer. An archer does not shoot or launch arrows indiscriminately but rather aimed purposefully to reach a pre-determined target. Though the quiver (the place arrows are safely stored until needed) is mentioned, the arrows are also mentioned as being in his hand, readying them for launch. I don’t believe this analogy to be intended to be purely poetic. My thought is that as is true of the rest of God’s word, the analogy is precise and fitting. A dad’s job is to prepare his children for launch into the world. When an archer shoots an arrow at the target, he is excited when the arrow goes precisely where He directed it. When children grow up and have learned to choose well for themselves and they succeed, it makes a father’s heart happy. I remember when the final of our five children moved out of our home. Empty nest syndrome was very difficult for my wife as she struggled to know how to tend, mend and defend her children from afar. She seemed to feel that I was too happy to see that day come and was at somewhat of a loss to know how to respond to my seemingly happy demeanor that the “kids were all gone”. I was able to help her understand my emotions as I likened it to the excitement I felt when I helped our children learn to ride bikes or drive cars or some other big accomplishment in their lives. My happiness at their leaving wasn’t at all about them being absent from our home, but rather a great pride that we had done well and they were able to maintain lives and homes of their own without our daily oversight. My apparent happiness was really the result of incredible pride…Just like watching them ride away on a bike they thought I still had a steady hand on.
Questions to answer:
What are your thoughts about these three parental roles being specifically those of a dad’s?
Have you ever considered that these “Dad Jobs” are also things God is intently interested in providing for us?
What are some specific examples you both see of these three jobs being manifested in your family?
Actions to take:
Wives it’s your turn: take some time now to thank your husband for the special and personal ways you see him filling his roles as a dad. If you have multiple children, give specific examples for each.
So now, celebrating dads and the God-like attributes that also make them a critical part of “Raising up a child in the way he or she should go” Give thanks to God for His amazing design and Go Be Awesome!