When my son Micah was a baby, we visited my parents one weekend when it became apparent he needed his diaper changed. It fell to me to do the deed, and as I carried him to the other room to begin the necessary arrangements to make him more presentable, my dad said, “It’s so different now than when you and your brothers were little.” I asked him what he meant, and his reply stunned me, “Well I think I may have changed three diapers between the three of you boys the entire time you wore them.”
I thought about this as I was cleaning my son, and truthfully it disturbed me just a bit. Now this is not a slam against my dad, he’s a good man, but it shocked me to realize he hardly had any interaction in this area regarding my brothers and me; instead, leaving it all to my mom.
I know a lot of dads who get their hands dirty when it comes to raising their children. Men today don’t shy away from being present in the lives of their progeny like the men of my dad’s generation and before. Back then the thought was men bring home the bacon, and women fry it up in the pan. When a father interacted with his kids, it was usually because mom had said at one point during the day, “Wait until your father gets home!” And this usually included a spanking as well as a stern talking to.
The Bible plainly says in the last days the hearts of the fathers will be turned towards their children. (Malachi 4:6) I find this interesting because the Jewish culture is very family-centric, and fathers and mothers both play a very prominent role in raising their children. God must desire men to play an even larger role then.
Men who sit back and let their wives do all the work with their children really should rethink their role. A lot of men want to come home from a long day’s work and relax from their labor. And don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in wanting this, but your kids need you too. Maybe what you should do is postpone your relaxation until you’ve interacted with your kids.
I heard a man say once in regards to his kids, “I’m not my kid’s babysitter.” I think he missed the point. While it’s true he’s not a babysitter, he is a parent, and as a parent he should be right in the middle of his kid’s lives. Children need both of their parents in their lives to become mature, productive adults.
I’m not saying you should never have any time for yourself, because we all need a little me time, or time spent with friends. It’s like the flight attendant says when giving the preflight safety instructions; put your oxygen mask on first, then take care of the people with you, because you won’t be able to help those around you if you’ve passed out due to lack of oxygen.
Men, take a look at what influence you are having with your kids at home. Do you get your hands dirty by being present in your kid’s lives each day? Are you helping your bride to raise your kids, or are you letting her do everything? Make the adjustments necessary, and you will begin to see a huge change in your family. Your kids need you dad, get in there and do what you can, even if you have to wear a hazmat suit while you change those dirty diapers. Your children need your presence in their lives.