My dad has always been a hero to me. I have always seen him as a man to respect, a man of authority and a man to fear (fear in a good way). But, I never knew that he was a lion tamer!
Several years ago, my dad was introduced to a group of young boys as a lion tamer. Pretty exciting, huh? I think there was some mention of the chair and whip that he used and the narrow escapes from certain death. The young boys were captivated. They hung on every word and wanted to hear every detail.
Interesting side note, though, is that my dad has never stepped foot into a cage with a lion (like a circus hero), into a den of lions (like a favorite biblical hero) or into a pit with a lion on a snowy day (like some other biblical hero).
My dad has done many things in his life, and 4-legged beasts have never been a match for him (he was a dog-whisperer before there ever was The Dog Whisperer). But, I have never known him to be in the circus or even to have gone on an African safari. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised at this new twist.
So, why did this leader introduce my dad as a lion tamer? Simple. For a weekend trip, the leader wanted this group of boys to have someone that they would listen to, look up to, respect, and obey without question. And he used a description that would gain the boys’ immediate attention and admiration. I think there was also a little of that fear factor instilled…like “you don’t want to mess with him, he’s not afraid to battle with lions!”
Even though this leader stretched the truth a bit, this does remind us of the roles that we play in our children’s lives – and the kind of roles that they need to see modeled for them. What are some of these roles? I am glad you asked…
- The Authority Figure. This role represents one who commands respect and elicits obedience. Even when they do not have the answer for everything, they are trusted as your leader.
- The Hero. The hero generates admiration and often demonstrates characteristics that children want to imitate. They battle for their family and for the greater good of their community.
- The Lover. The lover is a tender-hearted person who genuinely loves people, shows concern and compassion for others and is not afraid to show a little emotion. A man hug may be an appropriate greeting for this kind of guy. And, an ability to cry may be required.
- The Worker. The worker demonstrates a strong work ethic and the need to work in all circumstances as if we are working for God. The sloth and sluggard are direct opposites of this role.
- The Servant. The servant consistently leads by setting aside their own needs and desires for the benefit of others. They set the example of how we should treat, help and serve others.
- The Spiritual Warrior. This spiritual warrior demonstrates a vital relationship with Jesus, shows how our spiritual life is not separate from our everyday life, and fights for their families in a spiritual battle with the evil dark forces of this world. The Bible is common reading material and prayer is the weapon of choice.
- The Wise Guy 1. Yep, there has to be one. Our children need to see adults that can have fun in the right way at the right time.
- The Wise Guy 2. Along with the funny guy, children also need to see someone who is trusted to share Godly wisdom and insight.
I bet that you can think of some other roles as well. The point is that children need great examples to follow. And we need to intentionally demonstrate these roles for our kids. Otherwise, they will settle for anything the world offers them.
You Don’t Have To Be Everything
One more thought… It’s tough to be all things for our kids – even as much as we want our children to see us as the best in all of these roles. This is where community comes in.
Reggie Joiner, in his book Parenting Beyond Capacity, shares a story about his son refusing to tell him the truth behind a late night out – simply because he was dad and there are things that you don’t want to talk about with your dad. Reggie initially expressed great frustration over this. However, a new option was soon discovered.
Reggie asked his son a simple question, “If you are not willing to talk with me; then, who will you talk with?” The son thought for a minute and then named another man that he looked up to. This man was a trusted family friend with similar ideals and beliefs. Dad could now trust that the son would still have a great influence; and, son could now speak about those awkward things that you don’t want to talk about with your parents.
Our children need to see Godly people in action. Sometimes that comes from us; and, sometimes from someone else.
Question: What roles do you play? What have your children learned from watching you?
Photo Credit: kghai (Creative Commons)
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