“You don’t understand. Just let me do it!” Dad was used to stepping in to teach proper technique on how to field and hit. His daughter had always been receptive of instruction from him but this year was different, she was pushing back. He had been warned by other dads about the dreaded teenage years but he was determined to push through them doing what he had always done. Fortunately, an older dad and coach offered the advice to stay involved but to step back and let her grow.
Recognizing the ‘Teacher’, ‘Coach’ and ‘Counselor’ seasons of fathering will help you navigate through the journey as a faithful father. Early on dads serve as ‘Teacher’, when the kids trust and accept what they say completely. This window stays open until age eight or ten but then outside influences start to have an impact. That is when dads move to ‘Coach’. From about age 10 to 20, trying to teach too much during this season will be seen as being overly critical or judgmental. A good coach allows failure on the playing field to shape and strengthen the athlete. A dad always has the right to call time-out and make changes if the children are in a dangerous situation. From age 20 on, dads take on the ‘Counselor’ role. Continuing to coach adult kids is not healthy. A counselor has to wait for the phone to ring before offering advice.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1. Solomon goes on to say there is: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. – 3:2-8. As a dad, there is a time to teach, a time to coach and a time to counsel. There is overlap as you transition through the seasons but the progression is critical and Biblical. Jesus was intimately involved in teaching His disciples over three years. He then sent them off in twos (Luke 9:1-2) to put the teaching into practice after which He coached them (Matt.17:19-20). And finally, He sent the Counselor to remind them of all He had said to them (John 14:26).
Dads often ask what the toughest season of fathering is, expecting me to say the teen years. Every season has its challenges but intentionality on the journey - to stay focused on the Father, participate in studies for dads and find other dads, what I call ‘battle buddies’ to do life with - will provide glimpses of God’s glory through every season that more than mitigate any challenges faced.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the opportunity to be a dad. I accept responsibility to be Your representative in my family but I confess I have approached the role in my own strength as a ‘lone ranger’ dad. As a result, I have not glorified You in my fathering. Forgive me. Turn my eyes to You and open my heart to Your word and other studies to help me on this journey as a father. Bring other dads, battle buddies into my life that will help me navigate well through the seasons of fathering. Make me a faithful father - the dad You call me to be, the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father navigates well through the seasons of fathering.