Wow, if you missed Father’s Day at The Village, you really did miss something special.
Thalita Murray sat down with two dads, Jason Penny and James Boyle for a conversation about being a Dad, following Jesus, and how those two things may coincide.
She asked some important questions. We’ve listed them below for you to think through them on your own. Instead of trying to recap all their responses, we’ve simply summarized some of their thoughts.
1. What was your initial experience into parenthood like?
2. How did fatherhood impact your faith journey? Your general world view?
3. Is there a piece of scripture that speaks to you and your fatherhood journey?
4. Have you had a father figure in your life who is/was special to you?
5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received pertaining to being a parent? If you haven’t received any, what’s YOUR best piece of advice?
If there was a competition on how one gets into parenting, James kind of won this battle. Jason accepted his loss) His story is very unique as it involves adoption and losing his first wife all within a matter of four months. He and Dawn had adopted Isaac from Ethiopia. Four months later, Dawn passed away. This left James as a widow and single dad.
Fast forward a couple of years when James and Joanne marry and blend two families, now with three kids between them, they have a surprise of their lives and have a forth child together. Wild.
That’s quite a story to walk through and learn through. But that’s not to say that Jason’s more traditional route to parenting comes without challenges. All parenting does. Don’t we know it.
He says his experience was…“Crazy. Like most people I figured as a relatively competent adult I could figure out this parenting thing. I knew it would be hard but I thought it couldn’t be that hard. I was wrong. It was very very hard. They’re just so tiny and they’re like little time bombs that can’t speak English and you just have to figure it out. I used to have very specific ideas in mind about the right way to parent and now I just say, you know your own kid best so just follow your instincts. It’s like the 10, 000 idea. You’ve put the time in, so you know what works and what doesn’t.”
Some more things we heard from James were…
– It’s not easy to blend families. It’s always a work in progress. He’s trying his best, failing at times, hopefully getting better as time goes on.
– James was honest about his struggles as dad, and how he fights being too direct and is working on being patient.
– The scripture he’s held onto has been Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, he will make your paths straight.” James acknowledged that he needs Jesus in his life to be a better dad and husband.
Some more things we hear from Jason were…
– Having kids that now ask questions like “Why can’t I see God?” and “Where is Heaven?” have really thrown him for an unexpected loop. He likes to have clear answers for his kids because he knows those are the answers he resonates with. But often he might have to say, “I’m not sure about that, but I do know that Jesus loves us and cares about us so much that he’ll never leave us.” And their ability, and possibly innocence, inspires him because they just believe.
– The scripture he holds to is…Mark 10:13-16. Here we see Jesus receiving children and saying “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And for him this is a reminder of how he ought to approach Jesus; with imagination, implicit belief, the lack of intellectual pride, a sense of living in the moment and a special adaption to receiving. Watching his kids grow up in church and learn about Jesus has reshaped how he wants to approach his own faith journey.
– Jason says that his relationship with his wife must be a priority. It can only help his relationship with his kids. And his kids must learn from he and his wife about what it means to love and respect your spouse.
As you can see, there was lots to take home. This is only a snippet. Remember this, we are all ‘becoming’ something: Fathers, Mothers, Husbands, Wives, Friends, Singles, and of course, followers of Jesus. We’re not yet where we should or can be, but hopefully we’re a little further ahead than when we started.
Last thing about a day for Fathers & Mothers: It’s really a day to celebrate INFLUENCE. We all can have a good influence in others, especially those younger than we are. If you’re a parent, this may be obvious, but don’t think that you have to be a parent to be a person of influence. Follow God’s lead in your life and be present to those he leads you to. It’s amazing what kind of ‘influence’ you can have on others.
Happy ‘INFLUENTIAL PERSON’ Day!