The dining table was being cleared and the desserts were laid out. We were having dinner with our close family friends whom we had known for over twenty years. We met before either of us had our children and theirs were a bit younger than ours. My friend also invited his sister who was visiting for the week. The conversation turned toward college applications since my friend’s sons were in their senior and junior years in high school. My friend’s sister turned to me and said, “You need to talk to the boys. They are interested in medical school!”
“Oh really, I did not know that. Great! I am sure your mom is a great resource.” as I turned to their mother, who is a pediatrician.
“Yes” she nodded. “But they need to hear some advice from a professor like you.”
“Ok,” It was a high compliment and I was embarrassed by the praise. “But I don’t know how much more I can add beyond what you have probably already heard from your mom.” I then delivered a speech that I give to all students who are seeking advice about pursuing a career in medicine. The boys and parents politely listened but from the look on their faces, I could see that I may have been coming on too strong. The next day I texted the parents. “I hope I wasn’t too serious with your boys. The questions I asked them are the same ones I ask all my students that I mentor who are thinking about medical school. Maybe it was too much information at this stage of their education. I am happy to sit down with either or both of them and let them control the conversation and have them ask me anything they like. I have a tendency to get too intense and don’t want to offend.”
The father texted back. “I thought what you told them was spot on. We have been telling them somewhat the same but as you know, anything coming from the parents is suspect and massively discounted if not ignored completely. I think they took it in and the wheels are turning.”
I thanked the father but I was still uneasy. I was speaking to his children as I speak to my own children. I love my children but sometimes I get into a lecture mode and it can be harsh. Children know this, and as my friend correctly shared from his own experiences, anything coming from the parents is suspect and massively discounted. I once spoke to a Sunday school class during the main church service. Later, one of my friends said, “Good message, but you have to ease up and smile more. They’re just kids!” I reluctantly agreed. I am just too intense. It’s hard to not be a dad.
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:9-11 (NLT)
I will never stop being a dad or acting like a dad. Although my intentions are good, my actions and delivery may go awry. Praise God that my Heavenly Father is perfect with both His intentions and actions. He knows how to perfectly instruct, discipline, exhort, and train His children to be conformed in the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I can never stop being a dad and praise God, that He is my eternal Heavenly Father!
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.