A few weeks ago I left the house for a weekend camp with a ministry I’m part of. While I was gone I left the children with my husband. When I came home he was very aggravated and I didn’t understand why. I asked him fully expecting him to complain about something the kids did. Instead he told me he was aggravated with well meaning friends and family. You see, as he walked through church he was asked countless times “Are you surviving? Are you keeping the kids alive?” He told me that it really bothered him because he is just as much their father as I am their mother. I have been thinking about this for the past few weeks and he is completely right.
“Are you surviving?” – The Lie We Tell Fathers
Children need their fathers. More than that, they need to be able to trust them!
I didn’t even realize the damage being done to the men with this small phrase. “Are you surviving?” Why do we expect men to just survive fatherhood? Why do we expect them to be horrible at it in our absence? It’s as if we as women have decided that only we can parent our children. Sure, our husbands can help. They can chip in but when the rubber meets the road and we aren’t there to fix it, we expect things to go wrong. We expect them to fall short of our standard. Even worst, we leave the house after saying this and let our children believe it. How scary do you think it is for a child to hear that their primary care giver is just surviving?
This breaks my heart!
How can we expect men to step up if we keep pulling the rug from under their feet? By setting this precedence we are robbing our men of the right to not only be fathers when we aren’t around but to be great ones! Sure, they may make mistakes. They may paint your 3 month old before bath time. (Yes, my husband did this…) Our children may even bump their head or skin their knee. Guess what, it happens on your watch too. We make mistakes. We mess things up. Our children manage to climb the dresser looking for a toy. (yeah that happened on my watch..) At the end of the day though, they are learning just like you had to.
A challenge to the moms
Give fathers a chance to lead their kids. You might be thankful for where they lead them. I want to challenge you to ask different questions next time you see a father without his wife. Here are some examples.
- What kind of fun did you have?
- Did they sleep?
- Did they get into any kind of craziness?
- Have you made any great memories?
I know it goes against everything culture promotes but encourage a dad this week. Maybe if enough people believe dads can handle it, they will.
Looking for more?