I discovered recently that I’m going to be a dad: Lucy and I are expecting our first child next May. We’ve had the 12-week scan to confirm that all is well, which meant we could share our news with friends and family at last. I was quite overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and goodwill that greeted our news, for which I am sincerely grateful. But among all the messages, two stood out to me by comparing this stage of life to my previous adventures. That got me thinking.
I’d never thought of parenthood as an adventure, but I suppose it is. In striking into the unknown with limited resources and significant expenses in pursuit of great beauty and satisfaction, it certainly seems to match my definition of adventure. Ok, so there’s no long-haul flight, foreign mountains or beautiful sunsets (at least not at first), but it’s still an adventure. Indeed, given the raising of the stakes, it probably will be the greatest adventure of my life.
Raising a child is a tremendous responsibility: I’m being entrusted with a person, a soul known and precious to God, and the consequences of messing up are profound. It’s something I’m taking very seriously. I wouldn’t say I feel ready for it, because no one ever is; it’s just one of those things you have to take in your stride. But I do feel that I’m approaching it with due diligence, acutely aware of my duty to God in this matter.
I was raised with Christian values in a stable household to know and love God. My mum and dad discharged their parental duty superbly well, often in difficult circumstances. I have a tough act to follow, but also a brilliant example of fatherhood. Good parents are a valuable commodity, and one which the world needs far more of. What makes a good parent? Following the example of God. He is the ultimate Father, who modelled fatherhood for my dad; who in turn passed it on to me. Now it’s my turn to exemplify parenthood to my children.
I believe that behind many, if not most, of society’s problems today lies the abandonment of good Biblical teaching. How many of our culture’s evils could be fixed if we just did what the Bible has been saying all along? The Bible reveals God to us, showing people how to love, hope, trust, prosper and overcome. And in the family structure ordained by God, parents have been given the crucial responsibility of teaching and living out the Bible’s truth for the benefit of their children.
Therefore I intend to be a biblical dad, to raise my children to know the God who loves them and is for them. Such knowledge will help them bless the other people around them, and contribute constructively and sustainably to society. If I want the make the world a better place, there’s no better way to start than by producing people who do life right. As Solomon said:
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
So yes, parenthood is going to be an adventure, the best yet. No solo mission could compare. Along the way I hope to have many more traditional adventures with my children, but it’s part of a great vocation, a supreme calling from God.