Some Thoughts from a Dad

“It’s broke, Daddy. Please, can you fix it?”

 Our daughter, age four, handed me the little ceramic nick-knack, her face full of worry. It wasn’t anything of value, but to her it was priceless. As I took the broken object from her hand, I realized just how much that little brown-eyed angel relied on me. I thought to myself, She believes I can fix anything.

It has been said that a child’s conception of God is based largely on what he sees in his parents — because they’re the closest thing to God that he knows. That’s a sobering thought. If that is so, then what picture of God have I created for my children? Do they think that He’s always too busy to listen? Are they afraid to approach Him with their problems for fear of disturbing Him? Do they think He exists only to make rules and administer justice? Or do they know of His fathomless love for them and His care for their well-being? Will they take refuge in His arms from the storms of life? Will they seek Him out when they feel broken?

Just when I thought I was responsible enough to be a good father, I was struck by just Who I was trying to imitate in that role. I used to think we called God our Father because He is like our fathers on earth. But perhaps it’s actually the other way around.

Of course, one of the harsh realities every parent must face is that we can’t fix everything for our children. Having someone who thinks you’re Superman makes you frighteningly conscious of your limitations. Knowing there is someone who thinks you can do no wrong makes you painfully aware of your faults. You know that one day your child will deal with problems that you won’t be able to make disappear. One day he will have to choose right for himself.

That’s why moms and dads need to be busy instilling in our little ones a love, an understanding, and a trust in God that will stay with them all through life. We must teach them of His will and His promises, of His commands and His provision, of His holiness and His love. Then, even when they must face problems without us, they will know they are not facing them alone. Even when they know that we can’t fix what is wrong, they will know that their Almighty Father can. Even though we may fail, they can trust in a God who will never let them down. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

I looked at the damaged treasure in my hand and smiled. Just a little super glue, and a four-year-old girl’s world would be set right again. Her image of me as the invincible Dad would remain intact — at least for now. But it reminded me of my most important task as a father on earth: teaching and leading my children to know their Father in Heaven.

To those who are parents with children still at home, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers or somewhere in between: you have many responsibilities to your child, but none more vital than the duty to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).