parenthood as story formation

*disclaimer: many blog posts that are written this month will be formed in the wee hours of the morning as I work the night shift. if these posts lack coherence, please chalk it up to that.

It’s a rare thing for me to stop reading a book part-way through. I began a new one last week, but just couldn’t get into it; felt more like a winter read, so maybe I’ll come back to it once the snow arrives. The bit that I did read, however, offered up the following brief passage that really stuck with me. A bit of context by way of introduction: the main character is an author who had success with his first novel but whose follow-up effort was panned, so he decides to take a break from writing. During that period, he and his wife have a child, and this is what he had to say about becoming a father.

Beholding him, astounded as he’d never been before, Henry decided that his son would become his pen and by force of being a good, loving father he would write a beautiful life story with him. If Theo was the only pen Henry ever yielded again, so be it.

The due date for our son is about a month away now. We have been reading books and attending classes meant to prepare us for the responsibilities that come with being new parents; we’re aware of the various tasks and late nights that will soon be upon us, and know that life will never be the same once he arrives. But it’s the reality described above that really gets me.

That we are about to be charged with the opportunity to help write the story of this beautiful new life is something that truly reflects the fear and wonder that we read of in the Psalms in regards to this amazing gift.

I had the opportunity to attend a Joyce Meyer event at the ACC the other night, and one thing that she said that impacted me is that the decisions that we make affect our children; with every word and action, we affect them is positive or negative ways, shaping who they will become in the future. That’s not to say that we will have direct control over our son, that we can manipulate development in order that he becomes who we want them to be; nor is it to say that any negative thing he is exposed to will scar him for life. This is simply to acknowledge that our decisions matter; what I do and say can and will shape the way my son sees the world around him, and will directly contribute to the kind of man he becomes in the future.

As the narrator of this book alludes to, the best thing that a father can do is to always act out of goodness and love for his child and for others, striving to write a beautiful story for and with him or her. To do so is to acknowledge that our child is a gift from God – the One who is the author and creator of all things and therefore the true holder of ultimate control – and to act as a good steward of that gift through how I act around and interact with him on a daily basis.

It all begins in approximately one month; may I do all that I can to ensure that the story of my son’s life is a good one.

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    • JT
    • August 8th, 2010

    Awesome. You should read Dan O’s latest post if you haven’t already. Similar theme.

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