(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Being A Nourisher As a Dad
By Iain Dick
What does it mean to nurture? Are you naturally the nurturing kind? Do you even think you should be? As a Dad in the 21st century, these are questions I want answers to!
I’m not going to lie, when I hear the word ‘nurturing,’ my brain goes to moms. Mothering is nurturing, right? Of all the adjectives to use for a dad, ‘nurturing’ isn’t one of the first. But before we go any further, let’s just remind ourselves what the word nurture actually means:
- care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing
- help or encourage the development of
A father is a caregiver. He protects his family while they are growing. He helps and encourages development in his children. A dad is a nurturer.
Without getting too wrapped up in the semantics, I believe that my first impression will probably be like many of yours – a bit off. While I love being the caregiver to my kids, the man in me prefers words like protector, provider, head, king of the castle, and hunter-gatherer! I mean, what dad wouldn’t feel good being described in any of those ways? But the truth is, a lot of men want the titles, without the scars that come with them.
Granted, many of us don’t live in a time or society where it’s common to have wounds or scars from protecting our family. But the question is, are you willing to? More so, are you willing to die for your family?
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. – Ephesians 5:25-30
That gives us guys somewhere to start from on how we position ourselves in our families. You are responsible for them. Sure, your wife ought to respect you as the head of the household, but you are expected to love her and protect her to the point of death (where necessary). So, if that’s what the Bible says about being a husband, what about being a dad? Here are three points I want any dads out there to remember:
- Be giving… no… be sacrificial.
Give yourself to your kids and be available – with your time, with your attention, and with your emotions. Discover how your kids each give and receive love, so you can adapt your approach. Go the extra mile to meet them where they are. Show them you love them by whatever means you have.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? – Luke 11:11
- Show self-control.
It’s so easy to lose your temper. It’s so easy to get sucked into arguing or nagging them when they don’t listen. No one said raising strong, balanced kids would be easy. But God doesn’t place the responsibility on us and refuse to help. His Word and Holy Spirit are always there to guide you along the way.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
- Walk in forgiveness.
If I fail to forgive, it primarily hurts only me. But the consequence of that hurt leaks out of me and will affect how I raise my kids. If you have been hurt by someone, you need to know that it’s not just you who will be affected if you choose not to walk in forgiveness every day. God has modelled this once and for all; He forgives our sin when we put Jesus in His correct place as our personal Lord and Saviour.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21
Being a dad is a noble calling – and it is a calling. God places us in a position of authority in the family, not so that we can dominate, but so that we can love as He first loved us. Take courage Dads. We see you. We appreciate you. We love you. Thank you!