There’s that heartwarming moment in your favorite sitcom. When the dad puts his arm around his kid and tells them that life isn’t always fair. Then comes a :60 pep talk that ends with a hug. Fade to black and wipe away a manly tear.
As good fathers we seem to know what to say for the big moments when our son doesn't hit the walk off home run or our daughter stumbles at a track meet. Big moments and big speeches have their place. But where we as fathers are teaching our children the most is in how we act every day.
This is the subtle art of fatherhood.
I think the greatest example of subtle fatherhood in all of history is Jesus' earthly father, Joseph. Poor Joe doesn't get as much attention as Mary, and that's okay - that's part of his charm. Joseph is a working man, a carpenter. He is set to marry Mary who turns up pregnant. He wants to divorce her quietly as to not cause her and her family any embarrassment. This shows us that Joseph is compassionate and caring. He is a man who sees beyond his own needs for the greater good, even if things don't go as planned. Then an angel of the Lord comes to him and says this child is the Son of God and that he should be a husband and a father. Joseph never questions his instructions.
Day in and day out Joseph worked to provide for the Son of God.
For the rest of Joseph’s life he worked and raised his family - including a son that is from God. Talk about a tall order. Day in and day out Joseph worked to provide for the Son of God. He likely showed Jesus his carpentry trade, how to talk to adults and educated him on the Scriptures. He taught his son how to work, live and love like a Godly man should all the while knowing that God, Jesus’ true father, was going instruct him beyond what he could do. This must have been a heavy burden to bear. But every day Joseph raised Jesus.
Many scholars believe that Joseph passed away before Jesus started his ministry. He most likely never saw the water turn into wine or the lame made to walk. Raising a child like that on a promise took a lot of hard work and faith. Hard work and faith not just in the big moments of life, but the subtle, everyday moments.
God has chosen you to raise your children.
God chose Mary and Joseph to raise His son Jesus. God has chosen you to raise your children. There's a reason you have been entrusted those crazy monkeys that throw tantrums in Target, spill paint on the carpet and rest angelically in your arms. We as fathers tend to recognize the big moments in life and we rise to that occasion. We break out our best sports analogies and encourage our children. But love, compassion and instruction are needed most in the everyday subtle moments of life.