I grew up not really having a very close relationship with my father. Not that he wasn't a caring father – he did the usual things fathers do; ensure that our basic needs were met, once in a while taking my siblings and I out and of course pay for our education.
I was still young when my parents broke up and I had to live with my mother in spite of my dad's overtures for me to come and stay with him. This period in time effectively denied me the father-figure I needed at this critical period of my life.
I had a friend who lived in our neigbourhood. Whenever I visited, I noticed that the children were usually playful and free whenever their father was away from home. However, as soon as they hear the sound of his car, everyone would scamper to their rooms. I rarely saw them in the living room whenever their father was there.
I however had another experience when I went to live with my cousins for a short while. I noticed that everyone was having a great time even then the father was around. Imagine children sitting around joking and their father heartily laughing! I had thought fathers were supposed to be too busy to sit around joking with their children or watching anything but the news on TV.
When I became a Christian, I began to understand fatherhood from God's perspective. While some fathers do not create time for their children, God is yearning for the attention of His children. He wants to talk with us and is interested in the tiniest details of our lives. He hurts when we hurt and rejoices in our victories. He is always there for His children even when His children do not have time for Him.
Now that I have become a father, I am trying to apply the lessons that I am learning from the Father of fathers. I look forward to the squeal and hugs I get from my children as I come back home from work. No matter how tired I am, I try to answer the barrage of questions they throw at me.
I know children love cartoons, so I try to sit with them and we watch together whenever I am home, though the temptation is always there for me to reach for my laptop and work while they watch.
Yes, I am learning more about being a real father and God is helping me to be there for my children. I am thankful for the opportunity God gave me to learn from Him before I became a father myself. He changed my perspective on fatherhood from what I experienced as a child.
Today, my dad and I have a good relationship but I can't help but feel we are not as close as we ought to be. I believe this is due to the fact that my growing up years was spent away from his influence.
I want to be a positive influence on my children. I want to be there for them in spite of busy schedules and crazy deadlines.
Above all, I want God to say this of me; "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment…" (Gen 18:19)
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He currently resides in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, email@example.com