Fatherhood is a high and noble calling requiring much blood, sweat, and tears. As much as we might delight in seeing our kids grow and mature, we have an active role to play in this journey. And part of our responsibility is creating the space for our family to thrive.
To be sure, there’s a place for dad school and intentionally pouring into the lives of our kids – teaching, instructing, correcting, and guiding them in the way they should go.
But fatherhood also includes simply creating the space for them to flourish – like we do whenever we want to grow a garden.
A gardener protects and provides for his crops so that they can grow into their potential. And this is simply the space we’re to create for our kids as well.
Certainly, this includes providing a home and a physically safe place for them to play, explore, and grow. But it also includes providing space for them mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and the like.
For instance, this might mean allowing them to explore different thoughts and ideas – to “try on” different ways of seeing the world as they try to find their way. Of course, we still provide direction and set certain boundaries, but we also create the space for them to learn how to think for themselves and not simply mimic our thoughts and values in bad faith.
We can also intentionally expose them to uncomfortable and perhaps even R-rated topics while they’re in our home to create the space for them to wrestle through difficult issues with our guidance. This helps to equip them before going out on their own.
Likewise, this might also entail providing opportunities for them to discover their unique talents, gifts, and abilities, explore new worlds, and meet new people.
Whatever it looks like, we’re considering their needs and doing our part to create the conditions for them to develop deep roots and to thrive. And it’s not always what we do to them per se, but rather the space we create for them.
In the end, fathers create the playground for their children to have security and peace as they explore and discover God’s best throughout their life and relationships.