When you think about parenting boys what comes to mind? Perhaps a working knowledge of Legos? A basic understanding of Jedi Knights? The general idea of how to throw a ball? Personally, I’ve found a deep understanding of superheroes and villains to be vital for day to day fatherly duties. Now, while you may be thinking that this blog is all fun and games, there is an essential parenting nugget buried in here. I would be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about being a dad. I still remember being 22 years old when my wife was pregnant with our first child and being scared to death at the prospects of keeping a newborn alive until Adele got back from the grocery store. At the same time, I have managed to learn something over the last five years.
One of the best “somethings” I’ve learned along the way is from Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” My observation is that over time we have a natural tendency to exasperate our boys. Before I had children, I can remember reading this verse and wondering what it meant or looked like to “exasperate your children.” Unfortunately, now I know exactly what it means. I can become critical and impatient. I can be too hard on them, quick tempered and only measured with my praise.
The heart of a little boy, like anyone else, can only take so much. When I push too hard, I exasperate my son and his little heart crumbles. So, what does this have to do with Jedi Knights? One of the best remedies to avoid exasperating a son, is to do the opposite. In the life of a little boy, the opposite of exasperating is enjoying. I have to take time to enjoy the heart of my son. To play superheroes and villains, ninjas and cowboys, to wrestle and a watch Batman just because I love being with him. I have to make time to enjoy him and encourage his heart. Of course, we need to train up our sons in the “instruction of the Lord,” but it was never meant to be a lifeless endeavor. In fact, if we try to train them without this joy then we missed the very heart of God that we were trying to instill. After all, our heavenly Father delights in His children. May we follow suit and enjoy ours. Go ahead dads, pick up the lightsaber, dawn the cape and fan the flame of that little heart!