Jun 162016 0 Responses

A Question Every Father Is Answering

Landon loves his dad. As many 8 year-olds, he wants to grow up to be just like him. Whether his dad knows it or not, every move he makes is being watched by his son.

Here is what Landon sees:

  • At the stadium, his dad is fully alive–involved, vocal, and passionate.
  • At home, his dad is passive–quiet, lazy, and distant.
  • In the game, his dad is encouraging, motivating, and interested in every play.
  • In church, his dad is silent, disengaged, and antsy for the service to end.

What is Landon learning?

Proper Passion

One thing kids need to learn from their dad is passion. This isn’t to the exclusion of their mom. Mothers need to instill passion in their children as well. However, dads need to embrace their role of instilling passion within their kids, especially for the things which truly matter.

In its base sense, passion communicates a deep desire. If I’m passionate about golf, my mind, time, and energies go toward the game. Passion is an integral part of a meaningful life. Without it, we aren’t truly living. (See: One Thing You Must Show Your Spouse)

Rarely have I ever met someone who has no passion. Even the most laid-back, quiet characters begin to speak with a spark in their eye about something. It might take some time to find it, but almost every person has a passion for some area of life.

The common temptation for humanity is not an absence of passion, but is a misplacing of passion on to lesser things. For many men, the lesser things are sports–football, baseball, fishing, hunting, golf, basketball, etc.

We take things meant for fun and recreation and in those moments fully invest our hearts and souls. While it can be positive, we miss the negative implications.

If dad is laughing and celebrating on the field, but never does so at home, is the game more important than the family?

If dad is fully engaged while coaching, but emotionally absent while worshiping, is a score more important than God?

I’m not necessarily saying we need to care less about the game (although that is a consideration). I am saying we need to do a better job at revealing our passions about the important things of life–primarily faith and family.

What Really Matters

Consider two places where the word passion is commonly used:

Romantically. Few men would turn down a night of passion with the one they love. Passion is commonly used interchangeably with the concept of sex. It is an emotional, desirable engagement with the person you love.

Theologically. When we talk about the Passion of the Christ, we are referencing the suffering and death of Jesus. The fullness of God was involved in the sufferings of Jesus.

In these two places where the word passion is commonly used, modern dads are commonly absent. While they might have passion for sex, they do not regularly show passion for their spouse. While they say they believe in God, they do very little to reveal their belief to others. At best, this leaves children confused. At worst, it causes children to conclude that real men don’t care about faith or family.

Yet real men do care. With varying expressions, a mixture of personalities, and differing levels of knowledge/understanding, real men have the courage to show their passion about the important things of life. (See: How Parents Influence Their Children)

They care about the ballgame, but they care more about life, love, and people.

They passionately coach, cheer, and celebrate on the field, but they are more engaged at home, in church, and with others.

They root for their favorite teams, but feel a greater joy or sorrow on the success or failure of those they love.

They have a fun-loving craziness in the stands or on the field, but the fullness of their heart is expressed toward their faith and family.

Higher Things

I love sports. If you ever hear me yell in my house, chances are I’m playing a game with my kids or watching a game on television. I’ve brain-washed my children to cheer for my favorite teams. I think sports offer a unique vehicle through which the important issues of life can be taught.

But I never want my wife, kids, or community to think I care more about lesser things than higher things. I want my children to know I am passionate about God, their mother, and them (and in that order). I don’t want them to just know it; I want them to see it, feel it, and have no doubt about it.

For this to happen, I must have courage. I must be willing to reveal my heart, show my hurts, and humble myself before them. I have to be intentional about where I spend my time and energy. And I have to nurture a true love for those things which really matter.

Landon’s dad is continually answering a question. He may not realize it, but at every moment, Landon is asking, “Dad, where is your passion?” Through his actions, far more than his words, Landon’s dad–and every father–is answering that question.

Dads have an opportunity to show kids what really matter. Let’s not waste that opportunity on lesser things.


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