Monday, June 13, 2005

Are We Men?

Several posts ago I mentioned that I signed out my son from school and put "want to" under "reason." More than one commented that they wished they could do that. Can't you? And what is stopping you? We are the fathers of our sons and daughters. We are the protectors, the ones who take the risks, and the ones who stride forward to clear the path for our children. Here's an example.

I wasn't a perfect student, but I was fairly well behaved. One day, back in the time of teachers wielding paddles, I was accused by a teacher of doing something and sent out to the hallway. Everyone knew what was going to happen next. A moment later, he appeared and ordered me against the wall to take my punishment. "No, sir," I told him and stood my ground. He went through various threats for the next three or twenty minutes but I wouldn't budge. He then threatened to send me to the vice principal's office. The vice principal??? Nobody wanted to go there. Nobody had actually seen him but it was rumored that he had an electric paddle with holes in it and you could sometimes smell sulphur and see flashes of light under his door. "Then I'll go to the vice principal's office," I said, my voice breaking, but not my nerve.

Surprised that he wasn't actually a gargoyle, I nevertheless failed to enjoy my meeting with the VP. He threatened and growled at me for some time before pulling out his trump card: "Do you want me to call your father?" I didn't exactly smile but I sat up a little straighter and said, "That would be a good idea." He called my father and we waited. I think the VP was trying to glare me to death but I survived. After some time my father entered the room. My father is now 74 years old and I don't believe he has ever used a doorknob. BOOM! The door crashed open. Ignoring the VP he turned to me and pointe his finger right at my face. "Did you do it?" I replied, "No, sir." He wheeled on the VP, finger leading the way, and said, "You will not touch my son." The VP swallowed and said, "No, sir."

I agree with most of John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" but I much prefer Brad Miner's book "The Compleat Gentleman." I use it extensively in men's retreats when I tell my brothers that we are to be warriors, lovers, and monks. Warriors in that we are the ones who make sure justice is done, women are protected, the weak are safe. Some of us will use muscle, others the gun and uniform, and others will use law and the pen, but we MUST be warriors for we are men. The second part, lovers, is because we must value all we meet. We must love fiercely, but non-sexually, those women, girls, and boys we meet. We must love them far too much to lust after them, to misuse them, or to allow their misuse by others. We do not have to eat, sleep, or have anything comfortable in our lives, but we MUST love them. (that is why I recently left my last ten dollars on the pillow at my hotel for the maids, even though I wasn't sure how I was going to eat that long day before my evening flight home. I don't have to eat, but I do have to take care of everyone in my path)

We are also to be monks -- those who are comfortable alone with God for they habitually seek that quiet time with the Father of all. That gives us the strength to do what we must do: be men of God.

I'll do more of the rules I use for Duncan later, but now you see them in context. Briefly, I will show you how this blessed me with my daughter. Daughters don't need as many rules, but they need many more discussions and lots of listening time. When my daughter was born, I cried for I knew that I would only have her for a little time. I promised God I would make it count. I took her out of school for daddy-daughter days. I gave up extra work and money so that I could be the one who helped her with homework or helped her shop. When she had her first period, I was the one who hugged her and told her how wonderful this way. I was the one who then took her to the mall for her to buy the prettiest dress she should find and then I was the one who took her to her favorite restaurant and made the day a party, a celebration of her growing up.

One day, it all came back a hundredfold. I was wondering aloud to her why she didn't accept offers to date from some nice Christian boys. She was seventeen or so, beautiful, very well liked... but she had never, ever dated even though I knew some of the good lads at church had asked. She looked at me and said, "Daddy, I am so loved here, I'm not in a big hurry to leave. Our house is a happy place and it is going to take someone special to get me out of here!"

Last June, I handed over my princess to that "someone special" and he, indeed, treasures her daily. My little princess is now married to a fellow minister... but she still calls her daddy every day "just because."

Warrior, lover, monk. It matters.


At 6/13/2005 11:58:00 PM , Blogger Steve Duer said...

I am learning a great deal from your post about being a better father. Keep it up!

At 6/14/2005 09:56:00 AM , Blogger Billy D said...

Same here. I just read this while on break at work, and started thinking of my own two girls, and misting up. You're a very inspirational person sir.

At 6/14/2005 10:11:00 AM , Blogger Josh.Graves said...

I'm the one who gets to reap the rewards of the work Patrick and Kami did.

It's bad enough we work you're making me "tear up" (A Mead phrase if there ever was one)...I like the warrior, monk, lover stuff very much. I'm still wrestling with it, trying to figure out what it all means in light of Jesus. I think there are some fascinating comparisons.

At 6/14/2005 11:17:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Another one to go in my lock box. I didn't have any girls, but your post brought tears to my eyes just thinking of a daugther's love for her dad. Your comments about your daughter remind me of what I heard Don Mclaughlin say once: "The FIRST thought I had when I saw my new-born baby daughter Amy in the hospital was this.....What FOOL thinks he will ever be good enough to marry my daughter?" :)

Patrick, your posts are blessing us TREMENDOUSLY! One about more than one a week?!? Give us an inch, and we will take a mile! :)

God bless you, brother!


At 6/14/2005 11:59:00 AM , Blogger Greg Taylor said...

Thanks, Patrick. I like the line, We don't have to eat but we do have to love. For ones of us who are steaming toward the day our daughters have their first period, the days we hike and talk to our sons about what it means to be a man and show them by the way we treat their mothers, the day we give our daughters away in marriage or stand next to our sons at the altar, and all we'll need to know in advance of those days, this is prescience for us. Thank you, Patrick.

At 6/14/2005 12:22:00 PM , Blogger TCS said...

I probably should wait and think on this comment, but I will not. I am "teared up" as well. Patrick, your command of words and ability to relate a Christ like life are an amazing gift. I am very much not one to shower praise, maybe I should be, but you are blessing us all. From one whose father didn't father and in a similar situation didn't believe in me, you show me what our common father is like.

thank you.

At 6/14/2005 12:30:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

Am I the only girl to comment? I love my daddy so much. It's sounds like you're a good daddy (I bet my daddy could whip you, though!) Relationships with men are hard for me because I compare the men to my daddy. The best compliment I ever got was really toward my daddy. A gentleman came into the store where I was working and when he found out who my daddy was, he said, "God doesn't make them like your daddy anymore." I think I have a better relationship with God because I have such a great earthly father. Keep up the good work.

At 6/14/2005 12:38:00 PM , Blogger Adam said...

I have a daughter that will be 2 years old on Sunday. Your post made me cry in my office as I read it. Thank you

At 6/14/2005 01:11:00 PM , Blogger Keith said...

I have a daughter that I will "loan" to a great young man this November in matrimony. I am often amazed how wonderful she has become, despite the many flaws of her stumbling father. I thank God for her daily. Thanks for the inspirational post. I am a better man for having read this today.

At 6/14/2005 02:51:00 PM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

Whoa, Patrick, you made me cry. I can't put the rest of what's in my heart into words...

At 6/14/2005 04:55:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Patrick -

I'm a mom with two grown sons who are fine Christian young men, but I want them to read your last two posts because their dad wasn't the kind of role model he should have been in any way at all. So I have printed out your posts just now for them to have both for themselves as men and as dads.

My older son has three daughters, two of them very young, and two young sons and my younger son just became the dad of a second baby girl about three hours ago!! So, I want them both to learn from all you say how to be even better husbands and dads than they are.

Thank you so much for your example through your words, your writing, your life.

At 6/16/2005 10:30:00 AM , Blogger Kirsten said...

I shouldn't have read this and your most recent post in the same day. I am tearing up to be sure. Got to get my composure back and return to work.

Oh well, at least it is worth being a bumbling fool for a have read this.

Another blessing!

At 6/16/2005 01:42:00 PM , Blogger Gem said...

I read this yesterday and send it to my husband, saying "This guy really thinks a lot like you, plus his son has a really cool name (our 20-month-old's name is Duncan)!". However, I didn't read your profile -- my husband is the worship minister at Trenton C of C, you guys have probably met!

At 6/19/2005 08:20:00 AM , Blogger DannyHSDad said...

Thanks for your posts! Much to chew on.

One comment I have is that I think priest is more appropriate than monk: we husband and fathers are to lead spiritually our family. We, the dads, are the head of the household, just as Christ is the head of the church.

In fact, the more I understand the husband's and father's role, the less I like the Protestant phrase (as I was taught) "priesthood of all believers" -- men are called to be priests, to interceed for his family but also to set an example by being the "least of the servants."

How to live as a priest is the challenge for yours truly....

At 6/25/2005 05:21:00 AM , Blogger Arielle said...

Your daughter is very blessed - and so are you. Because of the effort you've put into the relationship, I believe it will be a richly rewarding relationship for the rest of your lives.


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