A person stood before me, he is still not too tall – just a bit past my shoulders – but this will not be for much longer. His voice no longer carries that boyish chirp, but it has deepened, with a tint of harshness to it; like Batman using his voice-changer! His shoulders broaden, he eats more than ever… All of a sudden, my first son has leapt from a little baby boy that I could hold in the palm of my hand to a young man that I now have a hard time piggybacking. All of a sudden, Ryan has entered his puberty years!
Have I been the father that he needed? Does he feel loved? Will he be dating soon? What will his future be like? Will he be strong enough to face the world? Will he be fulfilling his potential? Will he be following Jesus for the rest of his life; seeking after God’s heart? Questions that I am both excited and challenged by as I look at my son.
At Men’s Fraternity, I surprised Ryan who is turning twelve with “The Rite of Passage” ceremony last Tuesday. It was a special night not only for him but also for me as a father. Through that ceremony of “boy to teen”, I realised not only is my boy entering into a different life stage, I am also entering into another phase of fatherhood. As I looked at my son, I began to understand a little more about the heart of my Heavenly Father and how He must feel towards me.
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13 (ESV)
I love Ryan so much and all I want for him is to follow His ways; to choose His path when faced with a crossroad and express God’s glory through the gifts that were uniquely given to him. My hopes and dreams for my son rest not on his shoulders but on trusting that the Lord will provide what He sees as the best for Ryan. I am comforted by Jesus’s words in Luke 11.
For those of us who are parents, may I encourage you to spend time with your children? Your teenagers? Take time today to say “I love you, I am proud of you and you are good at __!” words of love and confirmation speak to the soul. Dr Ted Roberts (founder of Pure Desire Ministry) said to me once, “A day without a kiss, a hug and to say ‘I love you’ to the people who are close to you, is a day wasted”.