My husband’s a chemist. He wears lab coats and safety glasses. He has three neckties and in my opinion, that’s about two too many. All day, every day, he works under a hood with things that could seriously blow up at any minute. Not exactly the place for a cute little calendar or picture frame.
So, this Father’s Day, I’m stuck. He and I talk about it. The success of these parental holidays when raising preschool and early elementary children depends entirely on the spouse, not the child. My kids can make handprint hangings and help bake Daddy a cake, but really it’s me that’s in charge of making Father’s Day special.
And when it comes down to it, the daddy in our house really doesn’t want much of anything that can fit in a box. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want anything at all. So, here’s my list this year-5 gifts a little outside the box for Father’s Day.
1Priority. Before he was a daddy, he was yours, and you were his. In these child rearing years, we can forget that our marriage is primary. Sure, the babies matter, but it’s a matter of fact that these babies will one day stand tall and walk right out of the door. And if we’ve survived to see it happen, we’ll still be here within these four walls, just the two of us. So, this Father’s Day, make a new resolution to prioritize your marriage.
How to box it up: Give him a calendar with a date circled each week or month-a plan for a monthly night out and/or a weekly night in-where you do something special together (besides clean the kitchen). Buy yourself some lingerie, give him a box of peanut butter and jelly. Do anything to tell him that after Christ, this daddy is the most important person in your life.
2Respect. Jason drives home after a long day in the lab and opens the door to a pile of crumbs and crying babies and a trap of Legos. I hand him a baby and run off to fix dinner, never wondering what burdens he’s still holding from work that day. I forget to tell the kids where Daddy is today, forget to talk about what he’s doing, how his work matters. I hear the frustration sometimes in mommy chats; it’s so easy to rant about how husbands just don’t get it-how hard it is to manage these little ones all day. But, the truth is, we don’t get it either. There are certainly exceptions, but most of us will never know what it’s like to know that there are a number of hungry mouths at home depending solely on your paycheck. We may never know the tension between staying longer to please your boss or coming home early to please your wife. This Father’s Day, let’s ask God for help to grow in respect for our husbands and the burdens they bear for us at work and at home.
How to box it up: Find a way to show your support for your husband’s work. For me, it’s making his lunch each morning. Sure, he could do it (and he does when the baby’s kept me up at night). But when I do it, it’s a simple way to say ‘thank you’ for getting up and going back to work today. You could dress up the kids in Daddy’s work clothes, make a book about the work Dad does, teach the kids to ask about Dad’s day over dinner. Or, if he doesn’t work around things that might explode, make him a ‘thank you’ that can sit near his desk and remind him of your respect.
3Voice. It’s ironic-the way God designed the family. He gave the male headship in the home but then gave the woman the childbearing organs. No matter your feelings about women in the workplace, you can’t argue with the fact that children naturally need more from than mothers. And this is the struggle. I’m the one who’s borne and nursed these children, I’m the one that stays here at home with them, but God’s still given ultimate authority (and responsibility) to their Daddy. Maybe more than anything, daddy’s need more of a chance to be a daddy this year.
How to box it up: This is a tough one to put into a box, honestly. Perhaps you could write a prayer in a card-a prayer asking God to help you give the Daddy more of a voice in raising these little ones: to rely on him more for help and direction, to trust his parenting instincts more, and to pray more for him as the head of the house.
4Joy. Even on the days when he’s had a rough go of it at work, when the kids have totally wiped him out, he tells me this-that he’s happiest when I’m happy. But Jason’s only telling me what the Proverb says: it’d be better to be on the roof tonight than come inside with me when I’m in a foul mood. (Proverbs 25:24)
How to box it up: Make it a game. Give him a piggy bank or a nickel jar and call it the ‘JOY’ jar. Promise to put in a quarter or a dollar bill every time you complain. At the end of a month or a quarter, use the money to go on a date or to give away
5Simplicity. If anything makes the job of Daddy more difficult, it’s the excess in our life. The excessive schedule, the excessive piles of junk, the excessive laundry. I never put the diaper wipes in the same place, I pile up our swagger all over the garage, I forget to put the bills in a conspicuous place. These are little things but they can creep in and steal the joy out of being a daddy. So, this year, I’m hoping to gift Jason a bit more simplicity.
How to box it up: Is there a little something that annoys your husband or makes being a daddy more difficult? Do you have any power to change that little thing? I think I’m going to buy Jason a warehouse box of wipes, put them in a closet, and promise to never move them. I started yesterday on cleaning out the garage, but I’m not sure that will be done before Father’s Day. Take a before picture and gift him a coupon and pray together for help to simplify life this year in order to give your energy to the most important thing.
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60 Days of Prayer
Let’s pray for the daddies of Saudi Arabia today as we pray for our own here at home.