Colleen Carroll Campbell: The power of a father’s presence.
Check out the link above. There is a great, thought-provoking article in today’s paper here in St. Louis. The whole sense of a dad’s presence and role in the family is so important – we know that – but sometimes we don’t think about it much.
It does bring up a book I read a few years ago entitled The Price of Privilege by Levine. In that book Levine related the remark that one child once said to her. Levine was asking different questions trying to see how much involvement the child and the parents had. At one point the child said, “Oh no. My mom is super involved. She takes me everywhere. Practice. School, etc, etc,. My mom is everywhere but nowhere.”
What this child was referring to was the fact that the parents were “super involved” in the sense of running them from point a to point b. But they were always on their phone – always shuffling them place – always looking for the next experience for their child to prepare them for the future. But the present was almost totally ignored.
This parenting gig is not easy. Most parents that I know are struggling in one way or another – even those who think they’ve got it all figured out are trying hard to keep up the plan. Parents are afraid – I think. Afraid that they are going to mess their child up. Afraid they will not get it perfect and our child(children) will suffer. Sometimes we get lost in our fears.
I’ve got a lot to learn about being a dad. But there is one thing that I think is right on the money. I am not a perfect dad (or husband) but I have a perfect Father. My job as a dad is to own my failures and confess those to my sons – and point them toward the love of their perfect Father. In a sense I’m supposed to show them and point them toward absolute love.
I will not always be present in my son’s lives. The idea that I can always be present is a bit crazy. I can actually be present and not present (I check my phone way too much). But God is always present – always. That’s the sort of parenting that I need to work on more and more.