This week, we’re turning over the blog to the dads in celebration of Father’s Day. Follow along to see what they have to say about parenting, kids and marriage.
I’ve joked before of all the many ways parenting has made me a better youth pastor. After all, there are many similarities between a toddler and a junior high student:
- If you meet their hunger, they’re much easier to work with.
- Sometimes you have. to. talk. slowly. and clearly. if you want to make sure they’re going to get it.
- One of the best ways to increase the likelihood of behavioral change, is to have them repeat the command back to you.
- No matter how much they pretend other things are important, sometimes all they really want to do is run around a bit.
- More girls = More drama.
And so on the list goes. But on the flip side, I’ve been involved in youth ministry for several years before becoming a parent. Here are a few ways working with teenagers has been preparing me to be a father:
I’m now the “grown-up”. Seriously, this is a huge one. I remember one of the very first “serving” opportunities we had in youth ministry as an intern in college. No longer could I be the youth group kid who played the social scene and looked really good at helping but never really got physically involved. I could no longer defer to the “adult” on scene in the midst of a project that needed some guidance. Now, I WAS the adult on scene. That has continued to be the case while parenting. There’s so much that I never thought about growing up. Stuff that I allowed my parents to take care of, blissfully unaware of the plates they were spinning. But now I’m spinning plates, sometimes a lot of them. Part of “being the grown up”, in fact, seems to be knowing which plates I can let fall…
One-on-one time is huge. I still remember some of those first conversations about God with a junior high guy. I had a “small group” of skater-guys in my beginnings of youth ministry. The conversations we had, and prayers they prayed in those moments, away from the large group were awesome. Even better was when I had time with one or two of them individually, as they opened up and I could point them to the love of God, and how He wanted to redeem whatever they were going through. My girls are incredible, and when I spend time in a cuddle-puddle on the floor or reading a book together – it’s great. But the really cool times? When I can get one of them all to myself, and take her out for a daddy-daughter date. Ahhhh, that’s refreshing. The conversation we can have there is often hilarious as it is meaningful. I pray God continues to offer these moments, and that I’m man enough to demand them. 🙂
My wife is amazing. Seriously, I remember waaaayy back in college as we began to think about life together. She was right there with me as I began some of my silly youth ministry moments. She reminded me of the quiet kids in youth group, the ones who wouldn’t jump out and grab the youth pastors hand. Her tender heart consistently moved toward those who were on the sidelines, aware of the emotions occuring in any room. She continues to graciously remind me of the inner-workings of our daughters, especially in moments where daddy sees mainly the surface actions. As we celebrate Father’s Day this year, I’ll confess one of the best traits about me as a father, is the woman who mothers along-side me.
About Chadwick (“Wick”)
Born and raised a Michigander, Wick now finds himself as a youth pastor and family man living in central Illinois. He and his wife have three daughters (currently aged 2, 4, and 5). Through his blog, Different Parent, he continues to share how God uses parenting to transform us wholly. As he puts it, “I’m humbled daily at how much God uses my children to help me grow, and how much more growing I have left ahead of me.”