11.03.2011 The Blog No Comments

What song are you singing?

I still remember the moment. We were driving through Michigan, late summer of 1996, and the words echoed through the blue Mercury Sable station-wagon. “The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon.” My dad and I were driving to Grand Rapids for my freshman year of college. The irony is that even though I had heard those lyrics numerous times, and could even sing-a-long for a majority of the song, I had never actually paid attention to the words until that moment. I pray that most of you come from homes that were fruitful, fun, and functional. I pray that your experiences were filled with times of fellowship and family bonding. I realize, however, that this description, unfortunately, is more the exception than the rule.

A very familiar divorce statistic suggests that 1 out of every 2 marriages will end in divorce. As much as the following statement is not based upon any specific empirical research, this statistic seems to ring true in my own life. As I look at friends, family, and acquaintances, it is striking the reality of that statistic. Without running through a list of my family, friends, or acquaintances, let me just ask you, what does this statistic do to you? Does it scare you? Does it energize you? Does it enrage you? All of these, plus others, are extremely likely, and possibly valid responses. Personally, as I look at this statistic, I am energized. I am energized to flip the data on its head. I look at this information and feel the encouragement to thwart the numbers. If you are like me, let me ask you, then, what are you doing about it?

It took me a long time to come with grips that I could not change my past, or my parents. But through God’s grace I have learned that I can change the future. We have all learned lessons the hard way. Hopefully we only need to learn them once. Assuming that is the case, what are you doing with the lessons you have learned from your past?

There is an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” where Ray and his brother begin going to the dog track with their father, instead of counseling like they had told their wives. Throughout their time at the track, the boys begin to realize that in all of their fathers faults, he was very intentional to not treat them the way his father treated him. Enveloped in the humor of the situation is the stark reality that many of us may walk ignorantly, but we have some idea of what we do not want to do. Here’s my point: we should be working on progress, not perfection. We should not beat ourselves up because we are not perfect. No one is perfect, remember that. But are you striving to be better? You can, by the way, strive to be better with no ill feelings toward, or negative memories of your own parents.

Consider the manner in which Scripture instructs us. Scripture deals primarily with the ideal family and the ideal marriage. I recognize that some of you may not find yourself in the ideal situation, but are you striving towards the ideal? Paul tells us to love our wives like our own bodies (Eph. 5:25-33). Peter tells us men to live with our wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7), which makes more and more sense everyday I am married. John, the elder, points out the joy which we inherit when we hear of our children walking in the faith (3 John 4). All of this is fine and good, but these are more than just principles to consider, these are principles which require action. So take action.

If we are to love our wives as our own bodies then we should wash them with the Word as much as we are washing ourselves with the Word. We should be spending time with our wives in the Word, and discussion of the Word. Do you spend time praying for your wife and her needs for the day more than you do your own? Have you learned to live with your wife in an understanding way? Have you learned to listen when she wants you to listen, and problem solve when she wants you to problem solve without mixing up the two? If it brings such joy to hear of our children walking in the faith, what are we doing to pave the way?

“When you coming home dad? I don’t know when, we’ll get together then son, you know we’ll have a good time then.” If you are familiarwith this tune, you know that the song continues to demonstrate that the father and son relationship is strained, and the son, who wanted so much to be just like his daddy, did just that, to the detriment of the relationship. The boy in the song had all that money could buy. But money cannot buy a relationship with a father. This is only something time can buy. I do not care how you are spending your money. Let me ask you though, how are you spending your time?

About the author

Ryan is the Founder & Director of Daddy Discipleship and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Discipleship & Family Ministry.

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