By Nathan Breland
Being a father has taught me and instructed me much, even at only a year and a half of experience.
Although I may not have the wisdom of a father with grown children, I probably have a more vivid memory of the beginning of our son Daniel’s 1.5 years of life.
I still remember the early morning I woke up to my wife’s urgent prodding, saying, “It’s happening.” When I first held my son in the birth center, my feeling was surprisingly simple yet at the same time incredibly profound. I felt like I was meeting someone for the first time and was curious to get to know him better. Yet, I also knew that my new curly-haired and dripping-wet acquaintance was intrinsically connected to me and my most cherished ideal of creating a family that could bring God the greatest joy. And so, while I had the typical curiosity that I always have when seeing a new face for the first time when I stopped to think about this new relationship a bit more, I realized that it signified something so much greater than two or three individuals. It was Daniel, my wife, and I as the immediate family members but I also felt a flood of God’s love and his desire to embrace all humanity, starting from this most intimate relationship of father, mother, and child to serve as the model. As I rocked my newborn son, it was like God himself was holding me in his arms and telling me all the blessings that He wanted to give me and all His children.
A few days later, as we were deciding on my son’s name, my wife suggested “Daniel,” and so I went to refresh myself on the biblical story of Daniel and the lion’s den. Reading about Daniel’s great faith and courage, risking his own life for his spiritual convictions, resonated deeply with my own experience in pursuing a righteous life aligned with God’s ideal. So I told my wife it was a great name, and we stuck with it.
Now, as Daniel has formed much more of his toddler personality and small steps towards independence, like venturing into our backyard unnoticed and refusing to eat anything except French fries for lunch, sometimes I still reflect on the deeper insights I received into this father-son relationship, and it always instructs me that the example and guidance I show as a father always needs to reflect the greater purpose of realizing God’s dream. What it has done is just given me greater drive and meaning in growing as God’s son and as a man that can exemplify truth, righteousness, and goodness in my daily life.
Now in this current pandemic situation, we all have more time at home and hopefully more influence in the example we set for our families. Let’s not forget that the seemingly small intricacies of daily family life can and will represent something much greater if we take God’s perspective and make effort to see things considering the greatest ideals.
Let’s all strive for the ideal of one family under God, one family at a time. Happy Father’s day!