On today’s and tomorrow’s Focus radio program, you’ll hear something you’ve never heard before. Dr. Juli Slattery and I will be turning the tables on our co-host, John Fuller, as we talk with him about his excellent first book, First-Time Dad.
As many of you may know from listening over the years, John and his wife, Dena, are parents to six – 3 boys and 3 girls. They have a good handle on the joys and challenges of raising kids, including their youngest son who has autism.
John’s inspiration to write First-Time Dad came partly out of a conversation he had with Chuck Colson. Given Chuck’s work with Prison Fellowship, they were discussing just how ill-equipped many men are to parent following release from jail. It later struck John that all guys, to some extent, are unprepared to assume the most important job they’ll ever have. That’s when he decided to sit down and put to paper the essential things every new father should know.
What is a Father?
- A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth, without an anesthetic.
- A father is a thing that growls when it feels good–and laughs loud when it’s scared half to death.
- A father never feels entirely worthy of worship in his child’s eyes. He never is quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be. This worries him, sometimes, so he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him.
- A father is a thing that gets very angry when school grades aren’t as good as he thinks they should be. He scolds his son although he knows it’s the teacher’s fault.
Fathers grow old faster than other people. And while mothers can cry where it shows, fathers stand there and beam outside–and die inside. Fathers have very stout hearts, so they have to be broken sometimes or no one would know what is inside. Fathers give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers fight dragons almost daily. They hurry away from the breakfast table, off to the arena which is sometimes called an office or a workshop – where they tackle the dragon with three heads: Weariness, Work and Monotony.
Knights in shining armor.
Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who will live the longest. Though they know the odds, they keep right on betting. Even as the odds get higher and higher, they keep right on betting more and more.
And one day they lose.
But fathers enjoy an earthly immortality and the bet is paid off to the part of him he leaves behind.
I don’t know where fathers go when they die. But I have an idea that after a good rest, he won’t be happy unless there is work to do. He won’t just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he’s loved and the children she bore. He’ll be busy there, too – oiling the gates, smoothing the way.