ABSENCE…makes the heart grow fonder. This quote from an unknown source may work in some romantic settings, but Charlie Brown added what I think is also very true. He said; “but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.” Right, Charlie! Absence means ‘the state of being away from a place or person’. Simple enough; seems like it is no big deal. But, in fact it can be. In a normal family situation, kids go to school and parents go to work; so they are absent from each other for short periods of time during the day. That is, until college years come along. But there are extreme situations such as the military, overseas missions and the like.
I think the longest I’ve ever been separated from my wife was early in our marriage when I spent three months of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. I left at 185 pounds and returned at 155. Just saying! It was painful to be away just for that period of time. I have many years later spent a week in a few countries on mission trips, maybe like some of you. Well, throw in a week-long golfing trip to Scotland for good measure. That’s about it. It is sometimes good to leave for a short time, but always great coming back home.
What are several possible levels of absence?
- Biological father only
- Total abandonment
- Divorce or separation
- Workaholic lifestyle
- Self-serving hobbies
- Abdicating most if not all of the role
- Ignorance of the role
- Present but not engaged
We know ‘time is love’ to a child. How we use the time will determine their well-being over their lifetime, and even into the next generation (their children–your grandchildren, I might add). What possibly could be a more important use of your 24 hours each day? I like to think of it this way. Some dads are called Pop. So, let’s use this acronym. Present Observant Prepared!!!
Here goes! Present indicates you are abiding. Observant shows you are interested. Prepared means you have engaged in ways to disciple them. This is ‘time well spent’!
The return on your invested time will be eternal, abounding, rewarding; not only in their lives, but yours as well. I would contend that you as a dad cannot possibly succeed in all of this without (1) a commitment on your part, (2) several mentors, as well as (3) accountability and prayer partners.
Jesus said this to us through his disciples when he walked the earth. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (Jn. 15.4 NKJV). The discipleship of your children will bear ‘fruit’. And when he sees you strongly committed, he will make it possible for you to bear more fruit, even much fruit. Remember, you are simply the branch through which he is producing his fruit. Branches must stay connected to the source—that’s abiding! He goes on to say; “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you’ll ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (Jn. 15.7 NKJV).
That’s how you defeat absence, by abiding in him (trusting his promises) so he can arrange your life to fulfill your discipleship. He will shape your time, schedule, desires—everything you need to succeed. See, he is committed 100% to bringing this about in your children, because they are really his. You are just the caretaker of your vineyard! Fruit, more fruit, ahhh, much fruit!
Abiding Fathers is committed to assisting you in your caretaking. We want to help you Be the Dad…who is present!