As an adult I learned that it's better to under-promise and over- deliver. This way, if you just met the minimum requirements to fulfill your promise, it makes you look real good. It's like shipping from Amazon or E- Bay. They say 2- day shipping and sometimes the item comes comes early and you end up in awe of their great customer service! You're one well satisfied customer.
Sometimes I am also tempted to use that on my son Ethan. He's six years old and is like a mini adult. He is a shrunken version of myself with questions that makes me stop and really think how to answer his inquiries. This boy has really melted my heart and honestly one of the best kids I have seen or witnessed in my life (not bias at all.) His good nature makes me want to make him happy all the time and there comes the temptation that hits me sometimes to make promises that I probably won't be able to fulfill but I have always found myself wanting to make him excited about something."Ethan, we're going to Target this weekend" (his happy place along with his mom). He just lights up every time he imagines that red bull's eye logo. However, since I have personally not faithfully fulfilled those Target Day promises, sometimes it made me reluctant to say it again because I don't want to disappoint him and make him think that his dad's words are no good.
Then I realized, huh, I should not be scared to make big promises to my sons that require effort and hard work. In fact, as a father I should challenge myself to fulfill my "big" promises for them.
On our way back from a class I taught at New Life Church's HQ last Tuesday night, Ethan and I were talking while we were waiting at a drive thru. Him being a good kid told me that we didn't have to get food on the way home and that he was gonna be fine with the food at home. I marveled at his kind heart as he knows daddy doesn't like wasting money. In that moment, I felt so much love for my son and told him, "Hey baby, Daddy promises to love you the best way I can and give you the best life". He then replied " And to protect us and be with me and Clay and mommy. I love you daddy so so much",
Then it hit me, that's a big promise. A promise I shouldn't be scared to tell my son. I need to challenge myself to fulfill that. This time, I think I over promised and and might under deliver if I am not careful. If work, stress and other responsibilities hit me, I need to be able to remind myself of my promise to him to love him the best way I can.
It means taking him to Target so he can buy toys. It means not lashing out on him when he didn't obey the first time, and I have no grace left for other "stuff". It means, hugging and kissing him as often as I can to remind him that I love him. It means reading books with him at night before he sleeps. It means telling him stories and kissing him goodnight. It means laying my hands on his head to pray for him. It means that whatever is happening around me, good or bad, that daddy loves him!
Our father in heaven did not hesitate to promise big. John 3:16 says "16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This promise required sacrifice and great pain to offer his son Jesus in exchange for our freedom from hell, suffering, and our own shortcomings. That if we believe in Him, we will not die. That's probably the biggest promise ever in all fatherhood history!
Sometimes we think that big promises can set us up for failure, and I do get how we can think that way. However, I have come to realize that sometimes you need to swing big to get a home run. The fulfillment is indeed important but maybe the effort our kids see is as important just like when we go to Target and Ethan buys his toys, he forgets it right away as he sees other toys but he remembers that I took him there.
Inside the car as I pull up in the drive way, Ethan said "Daddy, you're a good daddy"
Happy Father's Day to me!