Dads often ask me what the toughest season of fathering is – ‘Teacher’, ‘Coach’ or ‘Counselor’. The general thought is that ‘Coach’ is the toughest because you are dealing with teenagers. I think the toughest season is wherever you are. With that said, as a counselor, when kids are age 20+ you typically have to wait for the phone to ring before offering advice. That can make it a very tough season for dads and moms.
One dad had a son call to say he wanted to marry his girlfriend mid-way through college. The son asked his dad what he thought. It became apparent during the conversation that the young man assumed his dad would continue to cover his college expenses and health insurance until graduation. The dad referenced Genesis 2:24 and told him that unless he was ready to leave his dad and mom, meaning to not be dependent on them financially, emotionally or spiritually, it was probably not the right time to get married. It was a good counseling session.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24; These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. – John 14:25-26. The Counselor reminded the disciples of all they had been taught by Jesus and empowered them to start the early Church. Similarly, a dad must be available when the phone rings to bring to light the application of the Word of God and empower kids for the journey called life. One of Billy Graham’s sons reflected on the qualities his dad exhibited saying he was faithful, available and teachable. What a powerful testimony to Billy Graham as a father. As dads, it is important to remember we do not have all the answers. But you will keep the dialogue open by being faithful, available and teachable.
Letting go is never easy. Early on we let go of our kids as they take their first steps, then it’s letting go of the bicycle as we run behind them. We let go of the car keys after months of driver training and let them drive off on their own for the first time. Then there is letting go as they move into bona fide adulthood, they are out on their own. It is the natural progression by His design. Transitioning well from ‘Coach’ to ‘Counselor’ is key for both dad and mom to enjoy this season.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for sending the Counselor, the Holy Spirit to illumine Your Word over my walk as a dad. Thank You for being patient with me as I stumble on the journey. Help me in turn to counsel my grown children well and be open to opportunities to spend time with younger dads. Grant me patience to be faithful, available and teachable as Your representative where You have me. Amen.
A faithful father transitions from ‘Coaching’ to the ‘Counselor’ season of fathering well.