It is going to be an interesting weekend.
On Saturday, I will join many others to see my daughter, Miss Alaska, Christina Reasner, give up her crown and a new title holder crowned. This is also the day of her mother's birthday, so an appropriate celebration is in order.
Roll forward one more day and it is Father's Day.
It seems like yesterday when the doctor handed this young woman to me a baby girl. Her young mom lay beside me recovering from the 24-hour ordeal called labor, (what I call labor is digging a ditch. That was 24 hours of torture for my wife, but it was easy for me), I was handed the treasure. I was dad.
In a few days I will give this young woman away. She is an oxford scholar, finalist in debate at the national level, intern of the year nominee in Washington, D.C., Northwest University Suma Cum Laude, advocate for abused and neglected children, who also ministered to the orphans in Cambodia.
It doesn't seem right. I raised her, I cry over her, I pray over her and now he gets her.
Actually, I am thrilled. She will marry and start her own journey as an adult.
Fatherhood is a job, an opportunity and a privilege. There is no training for the job other than on-the-job training, A father must face the greatest challenge in life. It is now his task to see this fragile little package become a healthy and productive adult from late nights when they are babies to when they are teenagers.
There is so much responsibility, effort and discipline needed. You're automatically the provider, authoritarian, taxi driver, coach, janitor, teacher, counselor, friend, enemy (when you take the phone away), cook, policeman and protector.
It is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, nonstop, over-the-top job.
Being a father also is an opportunity.
You are presented with a fresh life, a potential and a new force to be reckoned with. What are the hopes and dreams? What are the plans? Where will they end up? The mystery is in the future. What a father plants in his child's life will grow.
In one study I read regarding moral choice and integrity, the father has almost twice the influence in the life of a child. Dads influence, dads help shape the child's life. The character that the father shows will be the character that is revealed as this little life emerges into adulthood.
Last of all, being a father is a privilege. God has entrusted children to us. Someone wrote that children are God's gift to us, what we do with them is our gift to God. Since God dreams for us and has a plan for us, he also has them for our children, too. This was meant to be a cooperative effort.
One of the greatest tools in the father's tool box is prayer. Not just the 'God watch over them and protect them' kind of prayers. Rather the 'take them aside and pray blessing over them, pray vision over their life' type of prayers. Pray for their destiny, Speak life out loud to them.
Here is a challenge for every dad. Take your child aside and identify five or six positive qualities, then pray, asking God to bless the child and protect them. Pray for their future, their abilities and desires of their heart. Ask the Lord to come and cover them and protect them. Most of all, assure each child of your love for them.
This summer, I will see the last of the three daughters married. Each has done well. Each is married or will marry a good man. Each is productive and successful. They each have left a mark on the world already.
I am a proud dad.
The bottom line is there are lots of ways to approach the job of being a dad. If a father is harsh, damage may be produced. If there's a lack of discipline, there may be a loss of order in the child's life. If a father is cruel, this may destroy the child. To be a father is to blend wisdom, patience, discipline and lots of love into a fun package.
When we are seeing success, there is no greater reward. When we are struggling, no more difficult sorrow exists. When we have finished the race, the reward is the legacy that we have passed down. The seed you have planted will grow. So, plant good seeds. Create good memories and build a legacy of value.
Happy Father's Day.
Robert Reasner is senior pastor at Abundant Life in Sterling. Abundant Life is at Mile 81.5 of the Sterling Highway. Reasner can be reached at 262-7266 and firstname.lastname@example.org or www.abundantlifealaska.org.
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