Have you ever secretly wondered if your ability to teach your child was waning (or non-existent)? Who knows when a breakthrough is really a breakthrough. Who knows when what you have said has actually stuck. You know? It can be frustrating!
“Why don’t I just leave them to the professionals!”
“I am useless as a teacher. Nothing I say or do helps.”
“They seem to be learning, but every time I lead the horse to the water, it doesn’t drink!”
Do any of these feel (if not sound) familiar? These are common feelings. You want to give up. You despair. You get angry.
Even if you feel inadequate, you still have a responsibility under God to train them. You must teach. No options. It’s already happening.
However, sometimes there are beautiful bits of color along this seemingly gray path; there are little glimpses of fruit from faithful fathering. Indeed, life drolls on, and we typically walk the same paths over and over. Every once and a while, though (note: especially when we’re actually paying attention), there’s color along the path.
Today, on my daughter’s birthday, we were working on something for her school. She has been locking up in fear lately, which has largely been keeping her from remembering some of the information.
It hit me that these are really powerful, character-forming times.
How will I help her respond to this fear?
Well, at first, I felt like saying, “Get over it. Let’s move on. You got this. Just think harder…” (This, of course, only frustrates more.)
Instead, I asked her what was she afraid of? The answer: “I’m afraid of someone being disappointed in me, and I’m afraid I will be disappointed in myself if I don’t get it.”
I told her I get afraid of what other people will think too. Since I’m older, people might think I should “know this stuff already.”
We admitted that we make stuff up to be afraid of. It’s not even real, but if we lift our fears to a high enough level, then they feel real and we’re afraid of them.
It’s kind of amazing how much education is related to our emotional state. Fear is a barrier, but joy seems to be a catalyst. Character is inevitably included, as well. Jesus was constantly talking to people that had ears but could not hear (Matt 13:14-17, cf. Is 6:10). Pride and arrogance harden; it closes our ears, and we become the fool Proverbs so often speaks about.
I have been the fool, and I don’t want my daughter to allow fear to fester.
Without my brilliant foresight and wisdom, God brought a bright bit of color along our path. I was not expecting it, but I’m glad He opened my eyes to it.
Dads, I wonder how many times we’re so focused on what’s directly on the path, or down the path, or behind us on the path, that we miss the color along the path.
Widen the focus of your lens. Be a little less laser-visioned, task-minded, and black and white.
Watch for the color along the path.