When I was a kid I used to dream about being a superhero. We would run around the school yard with our jackets tied around our necks like capes dreaming of saving the world like Superman. As I got older I realised the reality of becoming Superman was non existent, and I am now a father, which if I’m honest I probably didn’t imagine when I was younger. Back then flying through the air in a red cape fighting bad guys seemed like a much more likely scenario than flying a spoonful of baby food into the gaping mouth of a screaming monster in a highchair.
But over the years I’ve come to realise that dad’s can proudly hold their own against the fictional characters of today. Because dad’s are greater than superheroes!
Dads do amazing things without superpowers. I’ve seen dads scramble up cargo nets to save their stranded princess and dive into quicksand like pits of plastic balls to drag out their young toddlers who unwittingly wandered into its colourful trap… and we do all this without superpowers or capes. Dad’s do whatever is necessary, whenever it’s necessary.
There is a blessed paradox about being a father. On one hand, I must strive, push, learn and grow. I must teach my children, love my wife, and constantly remove the things from my life that hold me back and stop me from fulfilling my higher calling of being a dad. I need to be a warrior. On the other hand I desperately need God to fill the many gaps I’m leaving out. I’m not encouraging enough, consistent enough or holy enough; I have many limitations and only God can turn my feeble efforts into something meaningful. But this paradox leads me to a place of Freedom. I do not have to be the perfect dad because God meets me.
Even if I could be the perfect dad that may not be enough. Look at God. He was the perfect Father yet His children still rebelled! But He never gave up on us. He sent His Son to save us and take away our sin and His Spirit to come and live in us. He continues being the perfect Father despite His imperfect children.
Let all of us dads also remember, ultimately we are not parenting our own children. We are parenting God’s children.