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June 15, 2005

The responsibility on me as a father is enormous; I am the first, last, and only mediator of truth and balance to my child.
The other day my wife stopped by the job where I was building a garage to say hi and to let the girls see their daddy at work. My oldest, Laura Rose (two and a half years old) was full of questions.
“What that, Daddy?”
“That’s my hammer.”
“What hammer doing?”
“It’s driving nails for Daddy.”
“What nails doing?”
“They’re holding down the shingles.”
“What shingles doing?”
“They’re calling me; I have to go back to work now, Sweetie.”
“I go work with Daddy!”
At this point, I thought to myself, “there is no way I will get this entire roof done if she stays,” but I said, “OK, come on.”
My wife looked at me skeptically, then shrugged, glad for some free time.
So I toted all the shingles up the ladder, then came back for Laura Rose, who was expectantly waiting on the ground. I settled her safely next to me on the roof.
As she sat there holding “her” hammer asking an endless stream of questions on a plethora of topics, what I was actually teaching her was that she is more important to me than my job. Work is a necessity, but my daughter is far more important.
Today as we sat on the roof, her child-like question was, “What that doing, Daddy?” It seems rather meaningless, but if I take time to answer her today, some day she will trust me enough to ask, “What do you think of him, Dad?”

Time has been called the fourth dimension; the truth is, it’s a lot more than that. It is the scale by which all progress is measured, good or bad. Time is the essential ingredient to physical and moral maturity. It is the record keeper, the sum of all that is and will be.
My job as a parent is to provide the support my girls need to grow into adults who are balanced, healthy, wise, strong, righteous, caring, and who fear God.
Every day it seems that I come to a crossroads with my girls in which I teach them something about life. Only about five percent of their daily lessons involve discipline or impartation of knowledge on some subject that interests them. Most of what my girls learn comes from watching how Zephyr and I relate. Ever since we first got married, when I come home from work, my wife greets me at the door with a smile and kiss, her face aglow with delight. I hold her in my arms, and we spend a few special moments enjoying each other. Now, our two-year-old, Laura Rose, tries to compete by wedging her little body between us so she can give Daddy “hugs and love.” No one ever told Laura Rose to be happy when Daddy gets home, but Zephyr did teach her by example. How unnatural it would be for Laura Rose to pout, be moody, be fearful, or show no interest in my arrival when all she has ever seen from Mommy is total delight toward Daddy’s home-coming? Daily, visible, hands-on lessons are life-molding. What else do I teach my daughters? About the fear of God, anger, love, or cursing? Everything I do, everything that I am teaches them.
My daughter learns new things about life every day. Whether it be from me, my wife, or something else, they will learn good or bad, right or wrong. The time I have to be an example is now. Right here on the roof. The time is now.
Laura is almost three years old. In five more years, she will be mostly who she is going to be for the rest of her life. For the next five years, she will believe that Daddy can do anything, fix anything, and knows everything. After that, she will still love me, but the input I have made into her character will start to diminish. I will be Dad, not Daddy anymore. Dad can say “you’re not allowed to have that makeup,” but Daddy can say “makeup is yucky.” As Daddy, I can shape who and what she desires, admires, and will become.
The responsibility on me as a father is enormous; I am the first, last and only mediator of truth and balance my child will get. If I do it wrong, if I teach my child to yell at Mama, to sulk, or to be lazy, no one will step in and make me get it right. So I will always approach being a father with joy and trepidation, knowing the absolute delight of seeing my girls grow in truth and knowledge, but with meekness and humility, knowing the responsibility I have as a father.
Time is ticking.

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