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Joseph and Jaxon, ages 4 an 11 months on vacation Mexico Beach, FL July 2016
I am daddy to two boys that will turn 5 and 1 in two weeks.  They are one of the great joys of my life.  As a father I have the privilege of raising them in Smalltown USA, Missouri.

As great as being a dad is, I want to admit up-front that it is also hard.  Without a doubt, fatherhood is the most difficult thing I have ever done.  Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  You just feed them, change their diapers, and put them to sleep…there’s not much more to it than that right?  WRONG.

No one told me that you would be losing sleep (actually my wife does most of the sleep-losing around our house).

No one told me how much they cost…formula, frozen circle pizzas that only get half eaten, second-hand clothes, and college tuition. This is what must of the kids’ budget in our house goes to.  No money doesn’t grow on trees.

No one told me that children can be strong-willed and not respond to your correction.  (I’m sorry for judging you at Wal-Mart parents.  I didn’t know any better).

However, no one told me you could love two little boys so much.

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis said

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Love is risky.  Raising kids isn’t always easy.  But being a dad is a triumph.

It seems like our culture is at a point that it doesn’t value fatherhood.  The role of dad is often undermined on sitcoms, where dads are presented as brainless, beer drinking Homer Simpsons that constantly fantasize about sex and boats.

Unfortunately, many dads are missing from their kids’ lives.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes. Additionally, Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.)

Even if dads are physically present in the home, it seems they are often absent workaholics or hobby-addicts.

I want to encourage you dads: be present for your kids.  Take time each day to stop work, turn off the TV, and put down the iPhone. Play with them on the floor, play catch with them outside, and read them a book.  Christian dads: pray with your kids, read them Bible stories at night, and raise them in church.

You won’t ever be perfect, but you can be present.

The dad life is worth it.