Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

20 July 2010

The challenge of how Dads communicate love to their kids

This past month or so at bedtime, I've been reading my 7 year old son Jared "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Watching him become engulfed by CS Lewis's masterpiece is easily one of my favorite parts of each day. The other night, Aslan died in Edmund's place. Last night he rose from the dead thanks to the "deeper magic from before the dawn of time".

With only a little leading the witness, I got to watch the lights of his soul go on as his understanding of Jesus sacrifice and triumph deepened. It happened as I lay will him in his bed... and he lovingly stroked my face.

It was pretty darn perfect.
I wish I could recreate those moments more often.

Last night... I noticed the first page of the book where Lewis dedicates (what was originally supposed to be a one-off story) to "My dearest Lucy". His Goddaughter.

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis

Fathers communicating love to their kids can be a hard thing. Some might look at how C.S. Lewis did it for his Goddaughter and think, "Well he's got an advantage! I can't write an internationally acclaimed book for my kid!" Maybe true. Maybe not. In this paragraph, you can detect that hint of lament that the child may not fully "get" how the father is trying to use what he has been given (writing in this case) to show love. You can hear and feel the hopes that so many Dad's have that one day, their children will understand how much they were loved by the motivations of what they DID do.

In Paul Simon's song "Slip Slidin' Away", he beautifully creates a character that many men can relate to.

And I know a father
Who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons
For the things he'd done
He came a long way
Just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

It's actually quite a sad song. But while it's not the scenario that is necessarily common among men... the motivations and feelings are. One thing I've learned over the years, is that a man's "Hunter" instinct still translates into modern society. But it manifests itself differently. Let me explain.

My natural inclination is to go and conquer the world. At Freedom House this summer, we're writing bucket-lists. The things we want to make sure we do before we die. My number one thing is:

1) Create and lead the holistic transformation of a city.

And then...

2) Facilitate the holistic transformation of many cities.

It's just how I'm wired. And it's OK. And part of why I work many, many hours at it... is to show my love for my wife and kids. I want to be able to create something that they'll look at and proudly say... "My Dad did that". It's the same feeling that I imagine someone who hunts for their family meal would feel when they come home with a big kill. FOR their family.

It's something kids need... and something that Dads are compelled to do. On Saturday, we were a family BBQ and I watched one of the kids proudly telling the story of how HIS Dad had his picture in the newspaper, YEARS ago. There was a pride and love for his Dad that was oozing in a very healthy male way.

This is a drastically different method of communication than mothers or wives. And for men, we fear that what we're doing is not being understood... or even appreciated.

I can feel what I sometimes feel, in Lewis's hope that one day his "dearest Lucy" will appreciate and feel the motivation behind his act of affection... that took way longer and way more work than he wished it did... because the payoff would have been quicker just to buy her a lollipop and get a kiss.

But look what happened when he fulfilled his calling as a man, husband, father and worshiper of God. Good things all around.


Anonymous said...

I love this post SO much. It makes me think of how much of a child I still am (spiritually speaking). I don't fully understand the love of my heavenly Father because I'm still a child... but I look forward to the day that I fall on my face and marvel at the full extent of His love.

Dave Carrol said...

Hey thanks man!

It's been stewing in me for a bit. Interesting how we "get" more and more of God as time goes on in our lives.

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