A discussion between a Dad and Daughter

The following series is intended to share my heart and the heart of my daughter.  We are separated by miles, time, schedules and all of our responsibilities.  Our hope is that we can share what we have experienced and learned from a fathers viewpoint in 21+ years of raising a daughter and in a daughter's viewpoint of teaching a man to be a dad. 

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Dad: Overwhelmed, stressed, concerned about direction, worried for what my kids are doing and if they have what they need to make it in this life.  CONCERNED.  Add on top of this what I see in this world and what is happening everyday.  Terrorism, murders, broken hearts and broken families.  There seems to be more and more exposure to the ugly side of this world beginning at a very young age. 

What do you do if you are a parent?  What do my children need to survive and, Lord willing, thrive given the above? 

God's promises never fail, but Eden feels so far away today.  

As a father, I am on my knees pleading to God for help.  Most of the time I find myself there because I have just stumbled on my face....again.  I ask, "God, what do they need from me?  How do I show Christ-likeness given the world? What traits and tools can I put in my kid's hands to be prepared for the daily battles?

As a Dad, raising kids with the heart of a Cowboy /Cowgirl, I would capture these thoughts in a phrase something like this: "Love all those who God leads across your path. Trust is precious. Stand for what is right and watch the ornery rustlers run." 

There are three biblically rooted messages in that phrase; Love, Faith and Hope. I wonder, do my kids get that? More importantly, do I exemplify that? 

But here I stop myself, because I have been trained by the world to give the impression that I have it all together and I can lead this family and my children where they need to go.  "I have it all sorted", "I know the way".... 

I have to ask myself, "Do I really know where I am going, so I can show them where they should go?"

Some days it feels so frustrating to not know for many years if your work, sweat, worry, blood and tears have been enough.  But that is why God calls those who follow Him to tend the Harvest, in other words, have the patience to grow what you planted. 

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Daughter: You can see it in their faces. WORRY. My dad always said that it was (and is) his job to worry about us kids. That always gave me comfort, still does actually.

Then there’s this stress...it roars it’s head almost on the daily. Whether we admit it or not it is lurking beneath the surface.

As the oldest child, I’ve always had a keen sense of the stress that lurked in the family. My parents may deny it, even tell me not to worry about it, but sometimes it almost feels palpable. Add on all the stress that kids face these days and you have a perfect storm.

Dad wonders how to prepare us kids to face the world, to conquer it, to thrive. He probably stresses about this...He stresses over my stress not to mention his own stress. Parents *insert eye roll here*

Yet as invincible as we may feel, stress can take a huge toll on everyone, kids included.

As I’ve grown up, and moved out of the house, there are days that I wish that I could run away from the stress. I wish to physically shed the stress that lurks in my school work, job, sports, whatever.

But here’s the thing, we can thrive. We were made to thrive. Dad always prays about us surviving and thriving. In order for us to thrive we have to communicate about what causes us stress. We have to communicate with God, our parents, mentors, or even a trusted friend. 

Speaking from experience, the more you try to hide your stress the worse it becomes. This is not something that can be dealt with later, it must be dealt with now. I thank the Lord that my parents talked to me about their stress and made me talk about my stress.

So speak up, talk about it, then conquer it! Do not let your stress lurk beneath the surface. Face it head on and conquer it. Conquer it with your kids, conquer it with your parents, but most importantly conquer it with God for “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37