Father, forgive them!

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I had lunch this week with Dave, a friend of mine and father of three adult children.  The topic of this blog came up so I asked, “What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a dad?”  Dave’s answer was profoundly succinct, “Expect less, love more.”

As I reflected upon his advice, I remembered Jesus’ prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)  Now that’s expecting less and loving more!

Then it hit me.  When it came to my kids—and many of my other relationships—I bought into another similar sounding message: “expect more, pay less.”  It’s the slogan of Target Corporation and it’s been heavily advertised into my heart.

It’s too easy to expect more of my children, particularly as they grow into young adults.  And I want to pay less too.  I’d like the sacrifices I’ve made as a dad to be paid back or, at least, to cost me less.  The “expect more, pay less” combination applied to relationships, however is lethal. Expectation of others without personal cost is demandingness.  Ironically, it’s a childish attitude.

Show you my tongueWhen my teenagers take off with their friends, leaving chores undone, do I really expect that they would put their parent’s desires above their own?  I say to myself, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  When they come home later than we wanted to stay up waiting for them, can I admit I did the same at their age? Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. When their forgetfulness means more work for me, can I realistically expect a heartfelt appreciation for the schedule overhaul I just engineered? Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

And when my Father looks down on my ungrateful, demanding spirit, wanting my way, my agenda, my comfort, in my time, can I hear Him say, “I forgive you, for you know not what you do?”

SOUND OFF:  What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned as a dad?

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7 Responses to “Father, forgive them!”

  1. justobserving2009 Says:

    Great post! One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a dad is to pay attention to EVERYTHING she says. I try hard not to tune her out when I’m watching TV or working on the computer – I never want her to feel ignored (and she’s only two years old). I look forward to reading more of your blog! I just started a similar one today (Raleigh Daddy 2.0 is at http://raleighdaddy.wordpress.com/ and I’d love to hear your comments). Thanks!

  2. justobserving2009 Says:

    By the way, I posted a link to your blog post on my blog. Hope you don’t mind!

  3. Leary Gates Says:

    Hello Brian! Thanks for checking out the Dad Pad and your comment. My family will tell you I need to learn the same lesson: Pay attention when someone’s talking to you! — at least I think that’s what I heard them say. 🙂 We look forward to hearing new insights from you as invest in your daughter’s life. Good stuff already on Raleigh Daddy 2.0! Thanks for linking to us!

  4. Tuey Wilson Says:

    I once heard Chuck Swindoll (I think it was Chuck Swindoll) make the comment: if it’s at all possible when your child asks you something—can I, will you, can we, etc) say yes.

    I also have a blog. I started it a couple of years ago as an exercise in creativity and have a couple of posts dealing with parenting specifically and relationships in general.
    Link to blog in general- http://tueywilson.blogspot.com/
    Parenting/relationship posts specific.
    Bloody Words the Video- http://tueywilson.blogspot.com/2006/11/bloody-words-video.html
    Rain Boots and Romance- http://tueywilson.blogspot.com/2006/05/rain-boots-and-romance.html
    Command–Z Or Me and My Moron Chip & Killing Time, also fall under this category and are the first two if you go to the main blog link.

    Hope this doesn’t come across as too self promoting. Just wanted to share as it fits the theme.

    You are bookmarked and I look forward to future posts.

    PS Thanks for the idea I know have for a future post:: “Just Say Yes”

  5. David Says:

    I’m still learning what it means to be a Dad…I’ve only been at it for just over nine years now. I guess if there’s anything I’ve “learned” about being a Dad it’s that I’m sure glad I have a Heavenly Father with an eternity of parental experience. When I don’t know what to do or how to respond, I can seek Him, and He’s always got a good Word for me.

  6. Be a Good Parent, Put Your Children LAST « Lee Bodenmiller Says:

    […] been thinking about  how I need to be more patient and compassionate for a while now. Last week, this simple phrase out of Exodus 21, “for I am […]

  7. Discipline: The 3 and 30 Rule | Souvenirs of Fatherhood Says:

    […] my own weaknesses.  I realized that I needed to adjust my expectations when I read this quote from Dadpad.org: “I had lunch this week with Dave, a friend of mine and father of three adult children.  The […]

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