Brain Surgery and Being a Dad

by Clayton King

Learn more about Clayton here.

Getting married, for me, was easy. Having kids, on the other hand, was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Getting married has advantages. You are dealing with another adult.

They know how to talk.

And feed themselves.

And get dressed.

And they usually sleep through the night.

Babies don't naturally think about how inconvenient they are. They come as clean slates ready to be packed with information, experiences, and love. That's why God gave them parents. We have the blessing of stockpiling them with faith, values, beliefs, compassion, tenderness, wisdom, and goodness.

No one taught me how to be a dad in seminary. And nobody warned me that my life was about to take such an abrupt turn that it would result in physical and emotional whiplash. Or maybe they did try to prepare me, and I was just too busy or stubborn to listen. Either way, becoming a dad was a glorious and frightening experience; a real shock to my system.

I compare it to performing brain surgery. In the dark. Self-taught. No prior experience. Without a manual or an instructor.

Okay, that may be a bit over the top, but I'm trying to make a point...that becoming a parent is no small thing. As a matter of fact, when you gaze upon your first born child lying in your arms or the arms of your spouse, still wet and sticky and new, the realization sets in that the little human you are now responsible for is really your best chance to actually change the world.

My boys are now 14 and 11 years old, respectively. I wonder every single day if I am doing a good job. My wife and I talk constantly about the way we are raising them, and there are so many questions we have. Are our kids too busy? Should they be playing more or fewer sports? Are we cramming the Bible down their throats? Should they be memorizing more scripture? Are we making the best decisions for their education? 

The questions (and the confusion) will never go away. As a matter of fact, it is proof that we love our kids, that we take the responsibility seriously, and that we are constantly being reminded to trust God with our children.

All the hard work is worth it. Dirty diapers and sleepless nights are a small price to pay for the fierce, messy, heart-pounding love that you feel when your child grins at you, climbs up in your lap, or prays a silly, precious prayer before a meal that makes you choke back laughter.

Sharie and I decided to embrace all the joys and struggles of parenting together. We are a team. We are united in our vision to raise two mighty men of God, who are mature, hard working, compassionate Christians that will live out the gospel in whatever direction God leads them to as men. 

Nothing has ever taught me to deny myself like my children.