The demands on a father and mother can become overwhelming at times, so I am starting to take a closer look at what I do well and what needs improving. And It is for this reason that this post has come to pass.
“I am not Superman! I want my true identity back!” I told my daughters one day. I love my little girls with all my heart. It’s just that sometimes the expectations they have of me can be overwhelming at times. Emma, my oldest, has the most fascinating, creative spirit that a parent would ever want to see. She has an eye for fashion and a flair for the avant-garde. But when it comes to Emma picking up after herself, she doesn’t know the meaning of the concept! She leaves a wake of disaster behind from her creative projects for mom and dad to clean up after. My youngest is just the opposite. She’s daddy and mommy’s littler helper. But she’s a seven year old bag lady. That’s right, on any given day you’ll find five or six shopping bags, gifts bags or shoes boxes stuffed with her Polly Pockets and Barbie dolls along with their clothing and assorted accessories. And, not to mention, her purse collections all scattered throughout the house. It seems like a never ending battle to get them to do simple things like pick up after themselves or keep their things where they belong. I bet you moms and dads must know what I’m talking about … so how do we meet this challenge of parenting?
We need to teach our children responsibility at an early age and hold them accountable. I know it’s easier said then done and this has been a struggle for me and my wife also. But don’t allow yourself to get trapped into thinking that it is easier to do it yourself then it is to teach your children to do it. Reality is, we’d rather not face our children’s excuses, not to mention the tears that sometime follow their excuses. My oldest is great at deflecting her accountability. For example, I say, “Emma! Pick your clothes up off the floor and put them away.” She then counters with, “But Daddy, Ella has clothes on the floor too, what about hers?” Well before you know it, frustration sets in and I’m raising my voice. And the next thing you know I’m picking up her clothes and putting them away.
The demands of parenting can be overwhelming; but they don’t have to be. There is a lesson here for both children and parents. Dad’s not Superman and mom’s not Wonder Woman. But when we act like we can do it all, even at the expense of being overwhelmed, we teach our children otherwise. We teach them to think of us as their personal super heroes.
THE GOD’S HAVE COME DOWN
Acts 14:8-18 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
In this New Testament portion of scripture, we see the story of a lame man who was healed by the apostle Paul. But ultimately, it was really the power of God and the lame man’s belief, faith and obedience that healed him. But the people who witnessed this miracle wanted to attribute it to man rather than God. They thought of Paul and Barnabas as gods or in our modern day words, super heroes. Paul and Barnabas knew where their power came from and gave all the honor and glory back to their power source – God.
If you knew much about the Apostle Paul, you know he gave witness to the living word and preached the gospel, the good news, to all those who had an ear to hear. No doubt on this occasion he preached at the synagogue (church) for this was his usual practice. And most likely this lame man sat outside hoping to receive help from the compassionate and the merciful. Paul being filled with the Spirit took notice of this lame beggar who was attentively listening to the word of God. But more then just listening, Paul perceived that the beggar had the faith to be healed. When Paul said, “Stand up on your feet!” the lame man, without hesitation, immediately jumped to his feet and started walking. How blessed was this man for his obedience to the command of God that came through Paul!
Oh! How wonderful it would be if I got that kind of immediate obedience from my girls!
So what makes the lame beggar so different? It’s his perception and belief. Are we giving our children our best when it comes to teaching them and holding them accountable for their actions? Do they perceive and believe that we mean what we say? Do our children know we have their best interest at heart? For me the answer is sometimes yes and other times no! Our children need to see consistency from both mother and father. When we give them responsibility and don’t hold them accountable, we set ourselves up for failure and them also. Whether we believe it or not, in the eyes of our young children, we are like gods.
I WANT MY TRUE IDENTITY BACK
We need to be like Paul and Barnabas and shut that thinking down and quick. If we let our children put the label of super hero on us and we try to parent in our own strength we will surely fail. But if we know that we, like Paul, are empowered by God to do all things through Christ, we will surely succeed. My girls won’t have a frazzled, overwhelmed dad trying to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. They won’t grow up thinking mommy and daddy do all that they do for them in their own strength. Instead, they will know that it is in God that we live, move and have our being (Acts17:28). They will know that God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). When I say to them that “Daddy is not Superman and I want my true identity back,” they’ll know what my true identity is … It’s not Pastor Wade. It’s not Billy Wade. It’s not Officer Wade. It’s not Daddy. It’s child of God … The one true God.