What is the Story you Tell Yourself About Fatherhood?

So, I know that sometimes when you guys are in the thick of dealing with problems with your kids, you might have a particular sort of discipline or training issue with one of your kids, and a lot of times you will tell yourself a story. And that story will either give you a lot of energy for continuing to engage in this really difficult, oftentimes repetitive, exhausting process, or it will suck even the last bit of energy out of you. And it’s really important to pay attention to the story that you tell yourself as a dad. “Why am I going through this right now? What is the reason why I have to constantly do this?” And a lot of times, there’s a lot of stories you can tell yourself about, “Hey, I want to do this for my kids,” but I think one of the things that’s really important to deal with and to think about in those moments when things are really, really bad is to frame the whole process and project of fatherhood in some ways as a curriculum that God is using to grow you.

So, God looked at you and said, “Man, I really need to grow you. And so, here are three, or four, or two, or five kids that are really… This is your curriculum to grow you up.” This kind of a mindset of really seeing the challenges of life as being there to help you become a different kind of person, that the Father is trying to grow his sons, you, up and He did that by giving you the blessing of children. I know that in times where, I guess, I’ve really struggled a lot with the self-pity party, and this is where self-pity just takes whatever little energy you have left and just takes the rest of it. And so, you have to have a mindset and a story that you tell yourself that doesn’t let you go into self-pity.

A lot of guys have this struggle where they see one of their friends who’s single and just living it up, or friends who just ignore their kids, and “Maybe I should do that. Maybe that’s the story I should live into.” And if you tell yourself… If you give into that kind of self-pity, it will suck the energy out of you. But if you actually tell yourself the truth, and that is that God loves you and He’s doing this out of love for you, that He wants to give you a curriculum for growing you spiritually, then that’s a totally different way to think about the whole project of fatherhood.

But yeah, Jeff, how have you thought about this one?

No, I agree, I agree. And I think what’s really important is exactly what you said, is that whatever story you believe is what you will become and what you will live out, right? And so, I think that’s just really, really important in regards to understanding that, and then it changes how then you also receive your own kids and how you step into those moments because you’re saying, “Hey, this is actually a moment of God trying to sanctify me.”

Now, to me there’s good and bad to that, or encouragement and discouragement, because part of it too is like, “Man, that’s…” When you realize that, you realize… I think you get a truer picture of fatherhood, and then you realize, “Oh, this is going to be a long journey,” because the point of it is X, right? Yeah, that’s just what I would say.

So, dads, if you’re listening today, be encouraged. Be encouraged that it’s a never-ending process, and I know sometimes that’s discouraging, but it’s a never-ending process. So, you’re on a trajectory that’s over a long period of time, that God’s going to make you look more and more like Him in small, incremental ways through how you father, and through your family, and through your marriage, and through your kids. And so, I just think that’s an-

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