Dads today get a bad rap. Treated in modern sitcoms like brainless oafs, our culture has come to dismiss men as critical to the healthy growth of a family.
Perhaps this attitude comes as a casualty of high divorce rates, but whether in broken, single, or blended families, a solid patriarch makes a notable difference.
Every day in leading this ministry for parents raising kids with diagnoses of every kind, I see what the world seems to be missing. I spend time in direct contact with the determined dads. Are these guys perfect? Absolutely not! Only One Father is perfect, and these men follow Him.
Here's what I admire in so many of the dads we serve:
- They are hard-working -- So many of them endure job difficulties. Beyond the typical stressors, their is also an added pressure our dads face. Employers have become quite adept at learning who the most expensive employees are in regards to their company health insurance. This can result in employers inventing reasons to pass up these workers for promotions or even terminate them. Even so, the vast majority of of these fathers press on, making every effort to provide for their families despite discouragement.
- They are loving -- Although dads can often travel a longer road towards acceptance of their child's diagnosis, you will not find a more tenderhearted group of men. When they are not at their jobs, they're helping to administer therapies. They are the muscle in families with kids who have too much strength or dead weight for their age and size. They are rescuers and defenders in precarious situations at home or school. They become kings at retro-fitting their homes for accessibility or fixing equipment in a pinch. And they tag-team with their spouses trading holding down the homefront with sitting bedside at the hospital.
- They are a deep, quiet waters of emotion -- Men are known to pull away in their caves to process things going on in their lives, unlike women who tend to talk through their challenges with others. Feeling the full weight of responsibility for the present and future well-being of their children with unique challenges, these fathers tend to wrestle internally with feeling inadequate or intense frustration or weighty sorrow. Yet, as these emotions swirl, the same men find the inner fortitude to move heaven and earth to make things happen for their children. While it can prove frustrating for their wives at times, these silent warriors do much to normalize life in their homes. They are often the much-needed counterbalance to a mother's intensity or worry.
- They rely on Someone with strength greater than their own -- While the respect of others is something that every man craves, it is the man who knows his limitations that truly deserves admiration. Fathers who have traveled down this parenting road with Jesus truly know that He is the only One that keeps them going. The hurdles can be too high and the anguish too deep to get our kids with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and special needs through this life. Eternal perspective can only be obtained through an Everlasting Father. The strongest of our fathers find their strength from Almighty God. A joy, peace, and confidence that is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit keeps these men moving forward through the toughest of times.
* Follow some of these "Determined Dads" on our Twitter list: https://twitter.com/SNAPPIN_MIN/lists/determined-dads