“Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes…” - William Shakespeare
I came home on Valentines Day, grabbed one on my kids and went and sat in our breakfast room. I found the above image on the wall. My wife (she’s amazing) decided to ask my children what their “Top 10 Things” was that they loved about their dad, and then create a Valentines Day craft out of their answers. Not only was I amazed at the stuff the came up with, I was touched and incredibly inspired by their genuine thoughts.
Trying to hold back the tears as I paused to reflect on each individual comment made by of my kids, I realized I was looking firsthand at what I look like as a father from their perspective. I saw who they know as their dad. Not just who I think or hope that I am. Incredible.
How have I never looked at fatherhood through the lens of this perspective? The lens of pure truth and unconditional love that oozes out of these little-people who call me their dad?
It’s one thing to think that you’re a certain kind of parent. Or to hope that you are making certain impressions or laying down certain groundwork for good parenting. It’s another story to hear what your kids have to say about you.
For instance, my son Weston, said that “I like when my dad colors with me even though he doesn’t really color much.” You might as well have punched me in the stomach. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t realize how much he loves it when I color with him. Guess what I’m doing this weekend?! Yep. I’m going to get my own coloring book and get started. And I’m going to love every minute of it! Just hoping I can stay in the lines as well as he does.
Had my awesome wife never done this lil’ experiment, I may have never known how much my son loved it when we color together. We do other fun stuff. We wrestle. Camp. Sword fight. Have Nerf wars that make Normandy look like a walk in the park. Just kidding.
Seriously though. It’s heartbreaking to think that I could have been oblivious to something he loves so much.
I want to constantly reflect on this ‘what would my kids would say about me’ perspective. As parents, we all should. What you’re kids would honestly say about you will define who they think you are.
It’s the same way with Christianity. Think about how you view God. Where do you get your image of Christ? How do you view Him? As a loving father who has the best intentions for your life? Or maybe a angry, judge-mental father who is ready to yell at you and discipline you at any given moment?
What are you favorite things about Christ? You’ll notice that as you answer those questions, they will define how you see Him. They will define how your relationship looks with Him. And how you talk with Him. How you serve Him.
Look at your children through their eyes. What does it look like? What are we missing? Let’s make a decision to be better at this. To constantly look to fill the gaps in our relationships with them. To find out what we don’t know and where you can step up and be a better mother or father. You can do it. And your kids need you to.
This is truly one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. A shifting of perspective if you will. One that has made me a better father. Priceless. I pray that you will look with your children’s eyes and that it will make each one of you better for it, thus making them better for it, thus making a better future generation.
Just in case you care to read…
My kids “Top 10 Things We Love About Daddy.”
1. Fun – he wrestles, plays, and takes us on four-wheeler rides
2. Adventure – takes us camping & tells us stories
3. Love – he snuggles, huge & kisses
4. Teach – reads the Bible to us & takes us to church
5. Blesses – he prays over us
6. Experience – he takes us to work & and to feed homeless people
7. Provides – he buys us food & gas
8. Cook – he makes us PBJ’s
9. Dirty Work – he takes us potty & changes diapers
10. Example – I like to work in the yard w/ daddy