One thing that is not true is that you love your kids equally. (I mean this in the emotional sense of love). You love them uniquely . . . .which is a beautiful thought. I often think then of orphans who grow up with no family. Do they experience that of sorts in an orphanage surrounded by all their “sisters and brothers.”
In Father Fiction, Donald Miller writes about a friend of his who apologizes to his kids when he messes up as a father. I think that’s beautiful and I’ve seen it before in a lot of families and sometimes on TV, but he specifically gives a different reason. He says he does it because he doesn’t want them to think that God is like that. He wants them to know that that was his mistake and not related to how they do, might, or will view God some day (especially due to the father imagery applied to God).
It seems plausible, not necessarily for everyone. But I have seen that people relate issues of parenting to issues of God. God only exists in as much as he is around us, anyway. I mean I know people who talk of God in the clouds and the heavens, but real people need some God with skin on. And the only way we have interacting and understanding God is probably through each other or people who act as entryway points of God in this world. Maybe that’s what Father’s are supposed to do. Be a beacon. I’d love to do that.
In one chapter in this book, Don writes of being invited to a frat house in Austin, TX, to talk to a bunch of guys who have read “Blue Like Jazz” but feel lots of pressure to sleep with lots of girls, brag about it, drink a lot, and party hard. This particular chapter is on sex, and it’s quite amazing to read. It’s not that it offers solid answers, but it’s the beginning of a conversation. I mean Don offers his heart, his learnings, but above all his honesty. I think that’s what strikes me about a father apologizing. If true, it’s honest. And honesty is one of the highest valued virtues. I don’t even care if I hate God and just want to yell at him; I just want to always be honest and get it out. I think there is connection and community in honesty. And Don does that when he explains his heart and what he’s learned. In that he was fathering those gentlemen. I won’t share any of the ideas or the perspectives with which they view men and women relationships, but it was just an amazing situation to be in and read about and witness and take in and learn and breathe. Fathers can help you breathe.