by B.J. Foster

In 2016, I wrote an open letter to men who said they hated being dads. The idea came from stats that showed that there were a thousand searches a month on Google for “I hate being a dad.” That stat was a shock to me. Did that many men really hate being dads?

When I wrote the post, my intent was to help those men embrace what they had, despite it being difficult. While I’m always prepared for some pushback to the things I write, I wasn’t anticipating the anger and despair many men feel about being dads. It’s all over the comments section, along with seething vitriol for me and my recommendations.

There’s no doubt that being a dad is hard. It’s been my greatest challenge by far. Fatherhood is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plenty of days, I’ve felt hopeless, lonely, and at the end of my rope. But it’s also true that the best parts of this life often require struggles equal to the joy they bring. The reality is, even those struggles shape us in beautiful ways. Here are five ways children are a blessing.

1. They give us people to love

There’s nothing more noble than loving others. First Corinthians 13 describes what love is. Some of the words that are used are patient, kind, humble, sacrificial, and faithful. When we have kids, we have the opportunity to work on these traits. The more we work on these, the more they become a natural part of our being.

2. They force us to focus on someone other than ourselves

Kids come into this world helpless. They need our attention, thoughts, care… We are forced to put their needs before our own. When all we do is think about ourselves, we tend to focus on our dissatisfaction and discontent. Our focus changes from what we don’t have ourselves to what we can give someone else. It’s a much more positive approach to life and gives us a meaningful purpose.

3. They’re a lot of work (in a good way)

Kids are a lot of work, mainly physical work when they’re younger and then more mental and emotional as they get older. All of that work makes us stronger. We build up an ability to shoulder more responsibility, and we become smarter and wiser.

4. They stir our emotions

As he was dying of cancer, Jim Valvano said in his famous ESPN speech that we should do three things every day. We should laugh, we should spend time in thought, and we should have our emotions moved to tears. He said if you do those three things, it’ll be a full day, and he summed it up by saying, “If you do that seven days a week, you’ll have something special.”

Nothing ever stirs our emotions like children. Even the mixture of joy and heartbreak that we experience is a gift. The emotions evoked heighten our senses of connection and meaning.

5. God gave them to us

Children are a blessing from God. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Children come straight to us from Heaven. God gives good gifts, and by giving us children, He has trusted us with a wonderful responsibility: to provide, protect, and love.

But children also teach us how we are supposed to be dependent on God as our father. Our kids have a desire to spend time with us and love us, not because of what we do for them, but because we are their dads. Mark 10:15 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” God loves us and desires for us to love Him back in the same innocent way kids love.

Sound off: In what other ways are children a blessing?

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Originally published at All Pro Dad. Photo by Helena Lopes.

About the Author: All Pro Dad

All Pro Dad is on a mission to help you love and lead your family well. We are a group of people passionately committed to bringing intentional focus to fathers around the world. Our message will inspire you to embrace who you are, give you tenderness of heart, and boldness of character as a dad and husband. We are consistently here for you to provide guidance and practical tips in raising your kids in a life giving way. All Pro Dad is a program of Family First (USA).

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