Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dad, Can I Help With That?

We all remember growing up watching our dads, grandfathers or uncles assembling some contraption or building something in the backyard. We always wanted to lend a hand, and we were disappointed if they said, “No, it is too difficult for you.”

Even as parents we too lightly consider our kids when they want to be a part of what we are doing. We deem our work too important for their input at times, and moreover when they ask us to be a part of what they are doing or to show some interest we are too often too busy with our own thing.

I often try to remind myself the following. I say, “Mike, stop what you are doing, and go watch that silly YouTube video that your daughters think you must see.” When I do it we always have a good time and a good laugh.

I also try to talk about my work with my daughters to see what they think. They are interested in some aspects, and they even offer good ideas at times. This shows them that I value them.

Not doing this will put me well on my way to fulfilling that Harry Chapin song
Cats in the Cradle where the father has no time for his son, and when the son grows up he has no time for the father.

Not only is this important in parenting, but it is equally important in Christian leadership. Some leaders think that they are the only ones who can do the job right, and they never bring their team or others into their thinking on anything.

When the young leader grows older he may become frustrated because the main leader would neither let him help nor would he ever be interested in the “smaller” and less significant things that he was interested in. Once again the Chapin song plays, and the younger man learns oh too well how to do his own thing and does exactly that. They part ways.

On the other hand we can always bring younger leaders into our thinking even if we are the ones who have to make the decisions. They can help us, but even when they can’t they can stand close by and watch us as we discuss together the “what”, “why” & “how” of the task at hand.

Jesus did this with His disciples as He modeled ministry for them while talking about it. He asked their opinions on various situation, He sent them out to do the same work and He was interested in hearing about their exploits when they returned. Finally He told them that they would do more than He when He went to be with the Father.
Jn 14:12

Even in the Old Testament God had a high regard for Abraham to the point of bringing him into what He was going to do. We would do wise to follow the example of Jesus as well as heed the warning of Harry. If we do we can like Abraham be fathers of generations who will father nations. We just need to rememeber that the word father is both a noun and a verb.

The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." Gen 18:17-19

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