This weekend my youngest child turns 13. That means that for two weeks I will be the father of four teenage children.
Then in mid-December my oldest daughter turns 20. How did this happen? I mean, when did this happen?
It seems like only yesterday I was getting my driver’s license, heading off to university and dating a beautiful girl named Rhonda. Now I have four children who are growing up way too fast. My theme song these days seems to be “Sunrise, sunset.” Life is moving so quickly.
A few years ago someone shared this little saying with me, “When your children are young the days are long but the years are short.” I can now confirm that is the case. I find myself wishing I could go back and spend more time with my little children. I keep wondering if there was more I should have done and if I am doing enough today.
Not everyone will be a parent. God gives each of us different gifts and opportunities. But of all the roles I play in life – son, husband, friend, pastor, citizen – none carries more meaning than ‘father.’ For better or worse I have been and am the primary influence on four amazing young people. The reality of that can be harsh some days. Nothing I do will have more lasting significance and impact than how I relate to my children. It affects not only them but future generations as well.
That’s sobering. Parenting has never been for the faint hearted. It’s the toughest job out there because the stakes are simply too high. My children are growing up fast but my job is far from over. There is no retirement from parenting, it’s a lifelong calling.
I am reminded that as a parent I need to model myself after my heavenly Father- the only perfect parent. Daily I need to seek him out for strength and direction. I need to learn of his patience, kindness, forgiveness and gentleness in caring for children. He is always ready to help.
The years are short but with God’s grace my children are training me to become a good father. They bring me joy and happiness I didn’t know possible. Truly the Psalmist was right when he wrote: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” (Ps. 127:3)