Standing before God and our Families I said my vows. I meant every word. Though I would stumble here and there… we promised for better or worse. Looking at my bride the thought never even arose that I could ever test those vows, or put strain to our relationship.
That was before recruit school… That (however) is a story for another time!
What felt like one eternity later, a voice booms from the stage. Recruit Class 6 ATTENTION!!!
-We jump to our feet, eager to please.
With right hands raised we vow to protect life, property, and environment up to a cost that may include our own lives.
A COST THAT COULD INCLUDE MY OWN LIFE.
Not a problem somehow.
These are the vows I’ve made in my life. Pretty serious occasions I would say. I think back on them when I catch myself about to slip below what I would deem my personal standards.
The day my daughter was born there was a silence that felt like an eternity, the cord had wrapped twice around her neck and she wasn’t breathing. The Doctors command for everyone to STOP seemed to cull even the rhythmic beeping of my wife’s heart monitor, or perhaps her heart stopped for a minute in anticipation.
It was so damn quiet.
Then there she was, a sharp cry. I watched the color drain from my wife’s face. Before I could even look to my little girl I checked on my wife. I had vowed to be by her side, after all, and there were already doctors and nurses giving my little girl some oxygen. I looked to Kassie and she told me to go. “Go see your daughter”.
The second I held her in my arms I just couldn’t help it. I wanted to give her everything. I promised I would be everything I could be for her. That nothing would ever hurt her (don’t we all make that promise?). I didn’t know and probably still don’t know what it would mean to deliver on everything I had promised to her but I knew in that moment it would be up to and including my life. Because that’s how we do it, right? All in.
As time went by and I started to have to discipline almost as much as I have to kiss owies (if not more) I felt guilty. That perhaps I wasn’t living up to my promise because I had to (what seems like) constantly correct my child(ren). But that’s not it at all. As they grow the need less milk and more meat. What you give them has to be adapted to the time and circumstances you are both going through.
But it is with that in mind that I propose the “Creed of a Fully Involved Father-“
You see, the creed can be applied to any and all of the circumstances we will find ourselves in. It is the guiding principles of being a fully devoted and fully involved Father.
To my Family,
I swear to always provide-
Know that Grace is free and unmerited favor, approval and support. The day we wed, the day you were born you had my favor. I will strive daily to make sure you know my undying approval for you and everything you are.This is free to you and crazily enough free for me to give.
This is a double edged aspect. Before I hold you accountable or up to standards I will first have to judge myself and allow myself to be judged. I know the standards set before me.
To my wife, hold me up to our family standards we set and together we will set rules for our children.
To my children, I am not making rules to ruin the fun in life. Being accountable for your actions and behavior will follow you through life and beyond. One day we will give an account of ourselves and I want you to stand with your head high knowing what was expected of you every day.
The day I was thrust into fatherhood my judgement was put out on the line. The Father’s job is to provide but not just in a monetary sense, I have to act as the compass to guide our family. As a father the decisions I make for this family will be sound. I will not make decisions by myself but with the team I have been given. I will seek counsel in prayer, I will check my thoughts with my wife, and I will weigh the impact it will have on your lives before acting. I will not brush aside your thoughts and emotions because of your age.
I promise not to detach myself from your feelings. I promise to empathize, sympathize and show compassion always. I promise to listen to understand not just to respond and when I respond to respond with kindness and patience.
Encouragement and Support –
I will be your biggest fan. I will push you into areas of uncomfort to watch you grow. I will share in your biggest and littlest dreams. I won’t let you quit if I think you can keep going. And I know you can keep going. I will proudly display every piece of art and attend every recital and practice I can so you know no matter what I will be there backing you. I will make sure you know that the foundation of your family is strong and you can do and be anything you set your mind to. I promise to give you the freedom you need to enjoy your childhood, a safe environment for you to experience failure, and the encouragement for you to always try again.
I will persevere through anything that is thrown at our family. You will see me seek God daily for the good of our family and watch as I learn to rely solely on him. Though at times I might struggle or stumble you will never see me quit.
Love Big and Without Restraint-
There will come a time when we hug and kiss less than we used to. We might not even hold hands when we walk.
That’s fine. I promise it won’t stop me. I will always love you as much as I did the first time I held you. I will always look at you the way I did during that ultrasound. I promise there is nothing you can say or do that would be cause for you to doubt my love for you. No matter what you will always be my child and I promise you will know that I love you (even if it means I have to embarrass you a little).
Participation and Excitement (for all the little things.) –
I promise to play. I promise to get dirty. I promise to rival your level of excitement as you learn about this world. I promise to include you and pray that in doing so you will want to include me. I promise to give you the energy and attention you deserve no matter the circumstances.
I promise to show you your true identity in Christ, something that, no matter what, cannot be taken away from you. I promise that no matter how hard I try to prove how special you are to me I cannot contend with the love our God has for you but I will try my best. I promise to treat you as the gift from God that you truly are while teaching you to love God for the gifts he has given you.
The day you were born I held you in my arms and made a promise to take care of you. This is what taking care of you will always look like. It may take different forms, tones, and approaches. It may not always seem like it but this is my promise to you. I will always do what I think is best for you.
Numbers 30:2 New Living Translation (NLT)
2 A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.