Guy Mason August 2010
02 Aug 2010
Three years ago my wife gave birth to our first child - a beautiful baby girl we named Summer.
On most days I feel completely out of my depth as a dad, yet take great comfort in knowing that God is not only the creator of this world, but also a loving father who is personally involved in the life of his children.
As a family (now with two children) we try to do life together as much as possible. We play games, explore our neighbourhood, pray, visit friends, sing, read the bible, paint pictures and, of course, dance to the Wiggles!
I’ve also found a growing love for what we call “daddy-daughter dates”. Every week Summer and I head out for some quality time together. It’s an opportunity to have fun and learn more about each other. Some of our favourite dates involve sipping baby-cinos at a local café, feeding ducks, shopping, and enjoying all the free activities at Harbour Town.
As Summer grows up, its likely that her love for feeding ducks and baby-cinos will change, but I’m confident our daddy-daughter dates will continue. There are a number of reasons why.
First, we live in an increasingly busy and demanding society where the song “Cats in the Cradle” is dangerously close to becoming a reality. The Australian Institute of Family Studies revealed recently that many children spend as little as 30 minutes a day with their dads during the week.
In ancient paganism it was not uncommon for people to go to a temple and literally sacrifice their child to appease the god of their day. The god of our day is performance, success, career – a god so demanding that many dads are willing to sacrifice their children to appease.
Children are a valuable gift from God. To lead and love them well, we need to not just be around them, but with them and for them, i.e., in touch with their challenges, hopes, dreams, questions, prayers, etc. I learn so much about my daughter in our dates, which is not only joyful, but provides insight to help my parenting.
Second, taking your daughter on a date is fun. As a grown up, this may sound odd – but there is something really enjoyable about hanging with a three-year-old. Simple things like feeding ducks and buying a lolly from the milk bar with 10 cents is surprisingly therapeutic. Not only that, watching your child light up when she goes to the movies for the first time, or discovers how to use the swing at the park is really special. Exploring the world with fresh eyes, gives us a new appreciation for God’s creation.
Third, as her dad, it’s my role to provide my daughter with a picture of how men are to relate to women. The day will come (not for a very, very, very long time!) that Summer will meet and perhaps marry a man. My hope is that through our time together she will see that a man who genuinely loves her will look out for her, protect her, have fun with her, listen to her, value her, pray with her, serve her, discuss life, understand her needs, etc.
I am not a perfect dad, but I want to do my best to I give her a model that will prepare her for life and the journey ahead. Ultimately, I do this by showing her my life, but also pointing her to the perfect example, namely Christ. In Jesus she discovers not only that she is loved and cared for, but also what it means to walk in his purpose and promise.
Guy Mason is the pastor of City on a Hill, a church that is committed to making a difference in Melbourne for the glory of God. The services are on Sundays at 10am (Hoyts, Melbourne Central) and 6pm (James Squire Brewhouse, Docklands).
Next edition – Why I date my wife
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