Happy Father’s Day Weekend! This is an apoortunity for you to enjoy your children, cook-out, and receive a new shirt or tie. Being a dad is a great thing – but the pressures and stresses involved can sometimes be overwhelming. There are always the financial challenges; the lack of sleep or wondering where your teens are when they are out past their curfew; as well as being told that a huge school project is due the next day, and they need your help!
Bill Cosby once said, “I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia – it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
According to some writers, there is a decline of fatherhood today - not a decline in men becoming fathers, but a loss of those who are truly an important part of their children’s lives.
How does one deal with the stresses of fatherhood? A Father’s Guide to Managing Stress at Home by Wayne Parker offers these tips:
- Set aside family time, such as Saturday breakfasts or bedtime stories.
- Make time to talk
- Remember good nutrition and regular exercise
- Make time for you
- Learn to say no
- If you need help, get it
Parker offers this advice, “Families are too precious to lose….Keep your stress at a manageable level and make life at home more pleasant, and you will build important family relationships that last a lifetime.”
I’d like to add another way of managing stress: prayer. Taking the time to establish a relationship with a power greater than oneself is one of the most important things a father can do. As we find God’s unconditional love and guidance, it gives any dad the calm strength to face all the family’s challenges.
These words from the Living Bible describe the results of prayer, “…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (James 3: 17, 18).
I remember when my son, Ryan, and I had worked all day outside. He was very young at the time and we decided to reward ourselves by going to the store for milk and chocolate chip cookies. As we got out of the car, I slammed the door on his fingers. He screamed! I fumbled for my keys and opened the door. I grabbed his hand and held him close. People looked as Ryan continued to cry. I prayed. I felt the love of God embracing both of us. Ryan stopped crying, and I looked at his fingers. There was not even a scratch. This is one of my most precious memories of fatherhood and taught me that prayer helps us feel God’s presence, enabling us to be the best dad we can be.
Have a Happy Father’s Day – enjoy the barbeque, the shirt and tie – but also consider taking a few moments to pray for the peace of God to help you feel less stressed and more grateful for the children you have!