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My struggle to become a father

me hugging tal 1 84ab6df6
Loving my own five kids came naturally to me. They had my DNA, were in my home and wanted my attention.  We had affinity, proximity, and need.  It was natural to play with them and hug them.  And they have all turned out wonderfully (four are in their 20’s). When God challenged me…
By Seth Barnes

Loving my own five kids came naturally to me. They had my DNA, were in my home and wanted my attention.  We had affinity, proximity, and need.  It was natural to play with them and hug them.  And they have all turned out wonderfully (four are in their 20’s).

me hugging tal 1When God challenged me with the thought, “this is a fatherless generation,” I felt he was talking about a great multitude of young people who needed re-fathering.  Without affinity, proximity, or obvious need, I was at a loss as to how to engage with them.  And assuming I could find them, how would I know what their actual need was?

Specifically, I’m not a “huggy” guy.  Young people with father wounds often have an affection deficit.  They need hugs and the kind of affection that tells them, “You really are very special.” 
 
Like a lot of dads, I’m more motivated to help them make a plan to aid them in finding where they fit in life.  I watch Gary Black or Michael Hindes love on young people and think, “That comes so naturally for them – I can’t do that.”

But, what I’m seeing is, God’s given me everything I need to be successful at this re-fathering process.  Earlier this week, Tana from the Jan 07 WR squad gave me a hug, as did Emily’s friend Nicole – I think they know that they’re special to me. And the day before, when the Lord told me to give a father’s blessing to a group of our young leaders, I did so.  What would have been unnatural 10 years ago more or less flowed.

The point is, I can grow into this new role by stretching my comfort zones.  I’m going to be a slower ramp-up than Black or Hindes.  But God isn’t asking me to be them.  And as Karen and I have committed to coaching the Jul08 World Race squad, I’m finding after a couple of months that I’m starting to love those guys.

If their generation is ever to get to greatness, many more fathers have got to embark on this awkward path of growth that I’ve committed to.  We don’t need dads who have got it all together, we just need the ones who have recognized the vast tide of fatherlessness and are committed to try and do something about it. 
 
Maybe you’re one.  Let me tell you, the stretch is worth it – there’s no higher calling.

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