Dear Dads: Spell FAME backwards

If you are a father, you can be famous. Just spell fame backwards: Every Man As Father. What if we measured the fame of men in terms of the kind of fathers they are striving to become? How would that change and benefit your family? How would that change and benefit our Christian culture as well?

I remember the way my toddlers rushed to the front door when their daddy came home. I watched as my sons tried to catch their dad’s eye at a game or a graduation. I love seeing my adult sons give their dad a bear hug. I love the way my granddaughter lights up when her daddy walks in the room. I’ve often observed the looks of love and admiration on the faces of adults, as they stand by their dying father’s bedside. All dads can be famous in the eyes of their children. But they have to define “fame” like their kids need them to.

When Muhammed Ali passed away last week, the tributes and attention were non-stop. The man was a great fighter. He was a prominent figure in the battles for civil rights. And he did have a large personality. On the other hand, he had four wives with whom he parented nine children, and he possibly fathered a few more that he did not claim. What if his fame had been measured as a father instead of a fighter? Would he have made news?

The world often defines fame differently than it should. To every man that has children, you can be famous if you define that word well. What if “fame” is measured this way: Every Man As Father?

  • Which job promotions would you take, and which would you give up?
  • Which social engagements would you keep, and which would you skip?
  • Which people would you admire, and which would you choose to emulate?
  • Which words would you speak, and which would you keep to yourself?
  • Which woman would you adore, and which would you ignore?
  • What would you praise and what would you push?

No Christian man holds his infant child and wants to be a bad father. No Christian man lives without the pressure that comes with knowing you have a huge responsibility. We don’t praise men enough for the commitment they make to provide for their families. Most of the time “enough” is defined as a “little bit more.” Sometimes dads need to redefine that word for their children and even their wives. Enough is what you are capable of giving, without giving up your role as father. Teach your family that you spell fame backwards.

You can be a famous dad if you model the role of father. Once when I was writing Bible study, my oldest son and I were discussing the Greek word for father. Jesus introduced the concept of calling God by that name. But, when Jesus called out to God from the cross, he called out, “Abba, father.”  He was calling to God as his dad. It was real, it was personal, and it was the call of a child in pain to the One he knew loved him. It was the name every Christian should be able to use for God as well.

If you will spell fame backwards, you will probably help your child know God as Abba Father one day. The most famous dads I know are the men who taught their children to know God. Their fame is eternal. Those are the children I described that surrounded the bedsides of their dads and helped pray them home to heaven. Fame spelled backwards is: Every Man As Father. Will you pray and ask God to help you seek that fame? It is a prayer your Abba is sure to answer.

I hope you will read the Christian parenting newsletter faithfully this month and take the time to forward it to the men you know and love. We will be featuring articles this month that celebrate the role of Christian fathers, many of which are written by such men. Thank you for subscribing to ChristianParenting.org. Our goal truly is “to raise children who know and love God.”