A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my struggle with pornography as it became my medication to cope with the ills and pains of life but more importantly how I viewed myself. I was overwhelmed by the response to that blog post. I had many people; men and women, fathers and mothers reach out to me about the small and big ways they had let sin and vices grip their hearts much like pornography did for me. I want to encourage you to continue to fight for your heart.
As I mentioned in my post, my son and I were going to need to talk through this. I needed to share my struggle with him. He is 15.
So, we went for a drive. Why is it that while you are driving it provides the right atmosphere to pour your soul out? Anyways, I was nervous (actually I was ready to soil myself). We started talking about school and life in general. As we talked I began to realize that in some ways I had built a strong foundation for this conversation. I have stated so many times to him, “Son, I love you and you can share anything with me.” In some ways, the opposite was true; “Dad, I love you and you can share anything with me.”
As we drove I started sharing with him my story. He was very quiet. After I finished sharing my story and heart there was a long silence. I finally spoke up, “well, what do you think?”
He paused. “I am shocked and surprised.” He then says something that shook my world. “Dad, I now understand why you tell us all the time to guard our hearts.”
“Yes, that is why!”
As we went home I felt the peace of God come over me. I thought, “This is the power of the Gospel! To redeem what was lost. To experience Grace not shame. To know the true power of His redemptive work was not fully experienced when I accepted Christ but to experience His redemption through my failures as a man and as a dad.”
Fruit Doesn’t Fall Far
Have you heard those sayings? “Fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” or “Like Father, Like Son” or Like Mother, Like Daughter.” I will bet you most of us parent out of some of our most painful or rewarding moments. For example, I stayed away from alcohol growing up. I remember early on in life as a toddler going to a bar with my dad. Once he accepted Christ he gave it up and that lifestyle. He would often share of the foils of alcohol. I remember once he shared when he was in the Navy and would wake up in jail in a foreign port wondering what he did to get there. That had a profound impact on me as his son. Little did I realize that I would trend towards other vices to cope with life. I think that as parents we are so intentional in protecting them from the world and the things we got into as kids and adults that we never share the why we want to protect them.
Now, I am not suggesting that our kids need to know every sordid detail of our lives. I am suggesting that our children need to understand our worldview of things. Because the reality is the fruit doesn’t fall far and they might have the same tendencies we do.
Like Father, Like Son
Getting out of that car that day made me come to a deeper understanding that as a dad, I hold the keys to my kid’s faith and heart. My son now understands at some level about “guarding your heart.” I also realize that this is just one moment in our journey together as father and son. I realize that my job as a dad is never over even after he has left home which that day is soon approaching.
I don’t want him falling into some of the same traps I have. I can either do that by stating, “Don’t do this or that!” or I could say, “Son, let me tell you the story of how I got this scar.” It could mean all the difference for him…and honestly this is one introduction I cannot miss, “hello, my name is Dad.”