Life is busy;
Days are short;
My calendar is full;
Projects are due;
Work isn’t done; and,
That’s when she brings me a book.
I have the privilege and challenge of being able to work from home. The flexibility is a blessing, but finding balance can be despairing. As a young father, time is not my friend and productivity only seems like a dream. As a solo pastor, my work is never done and only increases the closer Sunday approaches. I feel the responsibility of my calling as both a father and pastor, and know God has specifically called me to those rolls. My role as a father, however, can only be filled by me. My unique role is being a father to my daughter. That is why… when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.
She’s not little for long.
This isn’t a difficult sell. My little girl seems to grow overnight! The saying, “the days are long, but the years are short,” isn’t overstating the truth. I read something recently that pointed out, “There will be a last time for everything.” Right now, she loves bringing me a book, sitting in my lap and “reading” the story together. Those moments won’t happen forever. There will be a last time she brings me a book. Here’s the question: will I be too busy to look when she brings me a book for the last time? As I fight back tears just thinking about my precious princess, I say with confidence… when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.
A twenty year window.
Dad told me, “I only have twenty years to shape you boys…” That phrase has impacted the way I look at fatherhood. She’s going to grow up fast, but more importantly, I have to make sure I make the most of the formative years God blesses us with. If I only have limited time, why would I wait to build a relationship with my daughter? I can’t afford to wait; she doesn’t want to wait. I know that by the way she looks up and smiles at me after each page. If I wait, her wedding day smile won’t remind me that she’ll always love her daddy. I will make the most of our time. Will you make the most of your time? When she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.
Retirement will arrive, but fatherhood is for a lifetime.
No matter what role we hold in the workplace or community, none of us are irreplaceable. We may do a fantastic job doing what we do; but, at the end of the day, we can all be replaced, and will be replaced after we retire. Fatherhood, on the other hand, is completely different. Whether you father an adopted child, are a step-father or have fathered your kids from birth, fatherhood is a unique role and should be protected at all costs. The question is: why do we so often allow our temporary roles to trump our unique roles? Yes, we need to be responsible, provide for our families and do everything to the best of our ability; however, at the end of the day, fatherhood is a unique role that only a father can fill. That’s why, when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.
Here’s the thing, these moments don’t have to derail life. It’s a moment, it doesn’t have to be for an hour, but that moment, coupled with her smile of satisfaction, is worth every second. In fact, a few minutes is often all she’s asking for. Even though I might have to take fewer breaks, reserve my lunch hour to play with crayons, or stay up a little later to finish some work (or write this post), taking a moment with my princess will help me make the most of her early days, formative years, and watching her mature.
You may be the father of a young girl, and this post is very relatable. You may be father, however, of boys or older kids, and you’ll have to replace “book” with whatever your kids like to do with you. For me, that moment will continue to change as she gets older. My promise is take advantage of the moments we have, so our relationship can grow from day one.
What will you do when your child brings you a “book”?