I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a good father — no, Baylor’s not here yet. Otherwise I would have written, “I’ve been pretending a lot lately to be a good father….”
As a father, there are a lot of things I want for my daughter in life. I want her to grow up to live life to the fullest — the life God intended for her. I want Baylor to be loving and caring toward others. I want her to be honest and hard-working. I want her to think critically and make wise decisions. I want her not to be afraid of making mistakes; I want her to not be afraid of anything. I want Baylor to respect her elders and be obedient to authority figures. I want her to be intelligent and athletic and funny. I hope she’s sarcastic. But I still want her to say “please” and “thank you.” And maybe more importantly “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.” I want her to think I’m great, and to know that I’ll always love and take care of her. I want her to see how much her mother and I love one another, and how we treat one another — so she can understand just a little better how Christ loves his church.
I want Baylor to not be afraid of getting hurt or dirty, and to always be tough. I want her to never cry and have amazingly poop-free diapers. I want Baylor to play soccer, ride a mountain bike, and love rock climbing. I hope she’s a runner — or better yet a triathlete; I want to race her… and sometimes lose. I want to protect her from things that will make her sad, but I know I have to let her experience life. I want her to choose tackle football over flag, and pizza over five-course meals. I want Baylor to represent Christ well, so that others will praise God when they watch her. I want her to wear mismatched clothes like Punky Brewster. I want her to be fluent in two or three languages, and to adapt well in new cultures. I want her to like ice cream more than vegetables. I want her to lay down with me on the couch to take naps. And I want her to love Auburn football and the National Peanut Festival.
I also DON’T want her, like so many adults, to forget these simple kids’ lessons when she grows up:
- God is so big and powerful that he can do anything. What’s with becoming an adult, and not believing anymore in a huge God?! When we were little, we believed God could create the world, bring dead people back to life, and roll right over the devil or any other evil monsters under our beds. Now we’re not sure he’s big enough to answer our prayers and do miracles?
- God is smarter than the whole universe. These days we’re able to figure pretty much everything out ourselves, including how the whole Trinity thing works, how to properly interpret in its entirety the book of Revelation, and who exactly is going to be in heaven (as if that’s the big question).
- God loves me more than anyone in the whole world. As adults, we ask where God’s love is when we’re hurting and sad; we let our experiences determine our understanding of God’s love. And we often choose the imperfect, conditional, and finite love humans have to offer us, over love from the guy who created it.
- God is good and perfect. Is the God we adults worship a good and perfect God?
Maybe I can somehow keep Baylor from ever “growing up.”