Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fatherhood Fraternity

One of the coolest parts of being a dad is talking with other dads about being dads. I just recently caught back up with a friend from college and we were both discussing how great fatherhood is and how cool it is that we both were. I have another friend from where I vacation who posted a video on his blog of him tickling his daughter, and it was almost the same thing I do with Ross. It was great! There are a couple guys at work with older kids, so it's nice to talk to them sometimes and they let me know that the current crisis I am facing will be shortlived, or not nearly as bad as so and so that will happen later.

There's always been the brotherhood of men, and I greatly enjoy sharing stories of feats of strength, hunting and fishing, and other things that only guys find entertaining (like how I lost part of my big toenail). But there's another fraternity within all men that is comprised of those of us now raising little men and women. For those of you who aren't yet fathers, I can only say that it's like nothing you can imagine. It's both the most challenging and rewarding thing you'll ever do. And once you are one, you won't be able to ever imagine what life was like before and you wouldn't have it any other way than now.

And from my wife's experiences and discussions with her friends, I know there's a sisterhood of mothers out there too. When you think about it, it's what life is all about. Finding groups to belong to, sharing common ideas and interests, and supporting those in your group. This idea encompasses all realms of society from biker gangs, to the Ruritans, to well, hopefully, local churches. It's called community. And it is integral to making it through life. We all need people around us and we all need support and friendship. As Seth Godin says in his book Tribes, people tend to break out into groups of similarities. My current one happens to be fatherhood.

Take some time and think about what communities and tribes you are in right now and what those mean to you. Jim Kallam Jr. wrote a book several years back that is one of my absolute favorite books about how churches should be, called Risking Church. If you want to learn more about why community is important in the church and how to begin cultivating a good one, this is a must read. Without God, and without each other - we will struggle horribly with life. But with God, and with a supportive community around us, we will, as Jim says, "struggle well with life."

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