Every morning when the alarm clock sounds, my husband reaches over to turn it off and hops out of bed. (I do not use this word “hop” lightly. There is no distance for him between waking and sleeping. He literally bounds from sleep into wakefulness. Me? I take a bit longer. Okay, a LOT longer.) He rouses the boys, proceeds to the kitchen and starts making breakfast for the three of them. (He does not make breakfast for me. This is not an unkindness. He knows that neither I, nor my stomach, are fully awake until 9am.)
This is my favorite time of day. (Not because my husband is the one making breakfast. But, that is awesomeness for sure.)
I love to lay in bed and hear the dialogue among the three of them. A few years ago I wrote this on my blog about our mornings…
What a precious time of day this is for me. Not only to be able to wake up at my own pace (slowly) while someone else is on kid-duty, but to eavesdrop on it all. I love the sound of the espresso machine — when I hear that I know my light is about to flip on, and a steaming latte is about to appear on my nightstand.
I love the sound of the dishwasher being emptied, because it means I don’t have to do it myself. I love the sound of quiet footsteps in the hall, and the daily interactions and rituals between father and sons.
The precious exchange of words. The gentle tones. The whispered “Good morning, Sunshine!” and the responding sigh and yawn, or squeal: “Daddy!”. The sounds of stretching and hugs.
The soft scuffle as jammies are pulled off and head, arms and legs are stuffed into the day’s attire. Two voices, one chirping a constant commentary, and the other in a manner so gentle and manly — the voice of a Daddy in love with his son.
What a gift to meet the day with sounds such as these.
My husband, Gabe, didn’t grow up with a dad. He never had a man kiss or hug him when he was a boy. He had no role model to follow of how a father behaves towards his children. He was not given an example of fatherly love until he came to know the best Father of all--only then did he find out what it meant to be a man, a real man.
Not the definition so often propagated by our media.
Our sitcoms tell us fathers are foolish; goons who offer nothing to the family but hassle and comedic relief. Our movies tell us that violence is manly, and that qualities such as tenderness, gentleness and affection are feminine, while violence, mayhem, and bravado are masculine.
I sometimes quake at the world I’m raising men in.
I don’t want my boys to watch TV and think that fathers are useless and stupid. I want to raise men who are strong, who are confident – unafraid to stand up for themselves or others. I want my boys to see that strength lies in integrity and humility, not muscles and mayhem.
Love, and affection, and tenderness…these are not unmanly.
In fact, I would argue that tenderness is about the manliest thing a father can model for his sons.
Love is not unmanly. Love is the manliest attribute of all.
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
I Cor 13:13 MSG
What You Can Do Today:
- Be sure to praise and honor your children's father within earshot of your kids. Brag about him, openly and often! Praise him and encourage him when he does show affection to your children.
- Remember that your husband is a man, not a mom. Allow him to parent differently from you - different isn't wrong! Let him learn, make mistakes, and be a part of your parenting journey a as a partner with you, not as your subordinate parent.
Lord, help me to encourage the father of my children, to lift him up and not to criticize. Help him to have the courage to show affection and emotions in front of our children. Give us both the wisdom to nurture their hearts, and minds, and souls within your will for them. Empower their father to trust you steadily, hope unswervingly and above all, love our children with your extravagant love.
In the name of the One who loves us even more, Amen.
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