I'm roughly a month or so away from adding a new label onto my life: father. And if you think that sounds like just another step, to me it seems so out of place. The word father seems to carry a sense of maturity to it. Because now you're not only responsible for yourself, but for an entire other life. One totally dependent on you to clothe, feed, clean, stimulate, play with, read to, hug and kiss, and sacrificially love daily. And lucky me, I've got to do all this with a little girl! Not that I'm not excited, but it sure is intimidating!
I've been thinking a lot recently about how Kathryn and I are to raise this little girl in today's world. A world filled with such crudeness and sin that it causes me to shiver just thinking about not being with my daughter for a single moment to protect her. So I wanted to write a blog directed to the parents of young boys out there. Just a few requests:
1) Teach them to respect other girls as the weaker sex. We lived in a society where gender lines are often blurred. The feminist movement has leveled the playing field for men and women, and both genders have felt reprecussions. While some good things have come of it, it has also taught us that females are to be treated no differently than men. That's bogus. It's obvious we were created differently. Women are weaker physically than men and often times emotionally. PLEASE teach your boys to respect girls. It goes beyond just holding doors and lifting heavy things for them. It's respecting their hearts to never break them, their minds to never discourage them, and their bodies to never defile them. We are all image bearers of God.
2) Respecting other girls starts at home. Fathers (and husbands), if you are crude, crass, mean, rude, disrespectful, slanderous, abusive (physically or verbally), harsh, condescending, or arrogant towards your wives at home, your son WILL see that, and he will most likely view that as how women are to be treated. If you have negative things to say towards your spouse, you NEVER do so in front of your children. That doesn't mean it's okay to do it in private unless it's a civil discussion between both of you. As a child, the worst punishments I received (and the most painful spankings, for that matter) were when my father found out I had disrespected my mother. His love for her showed me that I was to love her and respect her because HE did. Dads, love your wives (Eph. 5:25-27). Your children are watching.
3) Teach your son that sex is for marriage. The saddest part of today's world to me is how open and disclosing people are with their sexuality. As someone that is going to be raising a girl, it scares me to death. In today's world, girls are pregnant in some cases at age 13. Many girls will have their first "sexual experience" by age 16. And then, once you're in college, it's just an expected thing. Sex is normal, natural, and boundless. Often times today a normal part of a dating relationship is even something called "sexting", where a girl sends nude pictures of herself via text message to a guy. How sad! It's clear in the Bible that sex is an act of marriage, and marriage alone. God never gives permission for anything sexual to take place outside of marriage. However, the world will try to convince you it's no different than a goodnight kiss. Please parents, teach your sons that they should not only respect other girls, but themselves as well. Teach them that sex isn't just a physical act, especially for a young woman. Teach them that often times the consequences vastly outweigh the pleasure. Sex IS intended for pleasure, once you're married. Your son should view other girls as "daughters of God", and respect them as much. This means, along with waiting until marriage for sex, to not look at a girl with lust. Hard to do, but nobody said following God's word was easy. Direct them in those ways!
The day will come where I'll start going on daddy/daughter dates with my girl. The day will come where a boy will write a "check yes or no" note to my daughter in class. The day will come that some boy will break my daughter's heart. The day will come where she goes on her first date. The day will come where some young man will ask for permission to marry my daughter. The day will come where I will walk her down the aisle and give her away to the love of her life.
And there's a chance that young man may be your son.
So please listen to my requests. I won't puff out my chest with bold statements like "she won't date 'til she's 35" or "I'll have a couple of shotguns waitin' on a boy that comes to me wanting to date my daughter!" But I am serious when I say this: your son better respect my daughter. If not because I said so, then because Jesus Christ commanded it (1 Pet. 3:7). Not just my daughter, but all little girls out there, because there's thousands of daddies of little girls that feel the same way I do.
It's difficult to really describe marriage. I've often thought about what I would recommend to a younger couple looking to get hitched regarding marriage. In part because I still feel at times like a newlywed myself, but more so because I feel a lot of times like I'm not in the best position to be dispensing advice on a topic that I'm still taking lessons on daily.
First of all, you have to take your vows seriously. It's not just a formality to get up in front of people and recite promises to your soon-to-be spouse. It's a whole-hearted commitment, one not to be taken lighty. Sadly, too many people today discard that wedding day promise as if it were made in haste, or as if it wasn't really intended to be serious.
On July 12, 2003, Kathryn and I made those vows to one another. We promised to ourselves and to God that we would always be there for each other, never failing in our love or honor for the other. That doesn't mean everything is perfect. It doesn't mean we don't have knock-down drag-out fights from time to time. It DOES mean, however, that we always promise to be there, for better or worse.
We'ce celebrated 6 years of marriage. As we enter into the seventh year, we know it's a volatile time. Year 7 is often a "make or break" year for marriages. Statistically, if couples can make it past their seventh year of marriage together, they usually make it for a lifetime.
Having a newborn arriving in August won't make things easy. Finances tightening won't make things easy. The stress of late night feedings and budget calculations will sometimes strain things. So what to do? Maintain focus on God's word to humbly submit to one another.
Do you know what that means? That I'm supposed to put my wife's needs above mine. That I'm to love her regardless of the way she loves me. That when times get tough, I don't walk out the door, but that I commit myself to my wife, my lover, my partner, and my best friend to work things out.
The best example of marriage to me has always been my parents. Their love and affection for one another hasn't wilted in their near 40 years of marriage. I can still remember my dad coming in from work when I was younger and walking straight over to my mom to greet her with a warm hug and a kiss. That's love. That's marriage. And all I hope for is that same love shared between Kathryn and I for many, many years to come.
I love my life. I love my wife. I love my new baby girl Macy who was born August 18! I've been writing much of my life, and there are few passions that take precedence over putting words together in intriguing format to, if nothing else, make the reader think. That is all.