I have a job that many people view as a little bit odd (or plain wrong, in some cases). I’m a stay-at-home-dad. Sometimes I’m referred to as a ‘full-time dad’. And this leaves me wondering what alternative there is. Isn’t being a Dad always a full-time thing? Surely, once you’ve had a child, you’re a Father for life. The only thing that can end that is life ending. Even if your child is adopted by someone else, you’re still, biologically speaking, a dad. It’s not a career move, it’s not a hobby. It’s a life sentence (I’m kidding, it’s not as bad as prison, most of the time!)
When we had our first boy, Joshua, we were both in full-time work. This meant that Joshua ended up in nursery from 8 ’til 6 three days a week and with a childminder the other two. But at no point did I cease to be his dad. I might not have been the one feeding him, changing his nappy (distinct advantage!), playing with him, telling him off or whatever, but I was still his dad.
This is a challenge for a few reasons. It will require me to make certain sacrifices for him. It also means I am responsible for him all the time as he grows up. Although I delegate some of that responsibility to others, the buck stops not with them, but with me. It also means I have the responsibility to be his dad whether I am with him or not. This will mean that my behaviour has to be appropriate for a father 24-7. This is something I’ve not perfected as yet! It also allows me to develop one of the greatest relationships I could ever possibly enjoy – that of a father and son.
And that also got me thinking about me and God (as these things often do). God is my Father all the time. He has made enormous sacrifices for my benefit. He remains the perfect pattern of fatherhood. And, perhaps most amazingly, He calls me to THE greatest relationship I could ever possibly enjoy – that of a child with their heavenly Father.