Still a Real Dad

Recently I moved on from being a Youth Pastor in our church to becoming an Executive Pastor. I have been blessed with so many posts and pictures by the teens of our youth group and wrote about my experiences in being a Pastor Dad.

I am so thankful to the people that made this possible and want to take a moment to thank a certain group of people who spent years making me into a Pastor Dad. That group would be my Real Children.

One of my kids was talking to me about the outpouring of love and appreciation I had been receiving from the teens and mentors as I was stepping out of Youth Ministry. She said, “The teens really have a great connection with you, I didn’t always feel that way when I was a teen.” I replied, “Well, honey, they don’t have to live with me.”  We both had a good laugh about it because it was funny.

But, it got me thinking. How did my kids see me when they were teens? In what way did they connect with me? Did they think I was a good father? The teens in my Youth Group saw me at my best. They saw me when I was excited and having fun. They heard my messages after I had time to prepare them or experienced a special event myself and the Mentors had been planning for some time.

My kids, on the other hand, saw me in the moment. They experienced my harsh word or snap judgement. They experienced my lack of grace and demanding attitude. My kids experienced punishment, lectures, and the evil eye at times. I did my best to teach them good principles, work ethic and a belief in God. But-

My kids taught me so much more. They taught me that it isn’t always back and white. They taught me to temper justice with grace. They displayed so much grace with the mistakes I made as a dad. My kids helped me understand that being a teenager was not the  finished product, but the journey to who they could be. They taught me to relax and enjoy the journey…even if I had to grit my teeth on occasion.

I watched them grow from teens trying to figure it out, to pretty awesome young adults. I have watched them make great decisions and some mistakes and then re-group and make new and better decisions.My kids taught me that the journey is not perfect but, I could trust that they were capable of figuring out this thing called life.

They are the ones who helped get over myself, my perfectionist attitude, my fears of trying to raise perfect mini-me’s. They helped me appreciate the differences and personalities that weren’t the same as mine. They helped me appreciate that each teen is different, has different views, different struggles. My children taught me that it is better to come alongside them as they grew, not just tell them how to grow.

Ultimately, my kids taught me how to be a Pastor Dad.  If I ever influenced one teen for good or helped one teen get though a situation or deal with a problem at home, it was because of my own children. My children, Jessie, Mandy and Zach did more to influence me as a pastor than any class, any book or any other person. The teens in the Youth Group have thanked me a lot over the last few weeks and I appreciate it. I want the teens of the Youth Group to know I didn’t get there because of me. I want them to know that my kids are the ones to thank. I want to thank my kids for what they have shown me and how it has affected the way I have pastored these last few years.

 

Remind me of this with every decision

Generations will reap what I sow
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know

To my great, great, great grand daughter
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand son
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand daughter
Live in peace
To my great, great, great grand son
Live in peace, oh, live in peace

Credit -Sarah Groves – Generations

My hope for my children is that as they grow with their families, they take the good things I taught and modeled and keep them…and I hope they see the less than desirable things I gave them, for what they are, and throw them away.

Blessing to you, Real Children- Jessica, Amanda and Zachary.

Your Dad.

 

 

 

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