Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Angry Dad, Wise Dad

Just how many fathers can you have? How can you have a Rich Dad and a Poor Dad? How could Jesus say to the Jews, “Abraham is your father but Abraham is not your father”?

Robert Kiyosaki added fresh recognition to the truth of multiple fathering in the title of his best selling book on his wealth journey. In Kiyosaki’s case, so he explains, his biological dad was an academic and not a wealthy man. The father of his friend, however, was an entrepreneur, and quite wealthy. Young Robert decided to learn from the man he called his Rich Dad, things which his Poor Dad was unable to teach him.

So, in that case, we see how there are different levels of fathering. We each have a biological dad, whether we ever met the man or not. We also have people who ‘father’ us, but mentoring our lives. I call that kind of fathering as Devotional. We devote ourselves to their values, skills and qualities. We effectively become the student of our Devotional Father, as Kiyosaki did to his friend’s biological dad. That boy’s biological dad became Kiyosaki’s Devotional Dad.

Devotional sonship identifies us as taking on the values, character or spirit of another person, in order to gain from that connection. The ‘sons of the prophets’, in 2Kings 6:1, were disciples of the prophets in order to become like them. Some men are called the ‘father’ of all who follow a certain course. Genesis 4:21 identifies Jubal as the ‘father of all who play the harp and organ’.

If you are a woodworker then you could be called the ‘son’ of those who invented and developed that craft. If you are a philosopher you may be a son of Aristotle or a son of Plato – since you will have a different philosophical perspective, dependent on who your ‘father’ is.

Last Saturday I taught this topic to a group of Young Adults and I will build this concept into the Youth Horizons book which I am gradually developing. For now, though, let me sow some of this into your thinking.

I am currently reading through Proverbs as I read my way through the Bible this year. What is leaping off the page to me in the early chapters is the abundance of references to ‘son’. King Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, quotes from his dad, King David, advising him to seek wisdom. There we have the use of the word ‘son’ in a biological sense.

Solomon then uses the word ‘son’ freely in his own dialogue. The commentators readily assume that Solomon wrote this book for the benefit of his own sons. I suggest otherwise. If Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his son, Rehoboam, then the book proves to be quite useless. Rehoboam did not follow the wisdom imparted in the book of Proverbs. Rather than respect the advice of his father and those who are wise, he listened to the foolish advice of his peers.

I suggest that Proverbs was written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to impart wisdom to all the children of God. The use of the word ‘son’ does not indicate biological sonship, but devotional sonship. Each of us who are devoted to God become God’s sons (even if we are female we enter the same place in God’s presence as any male can lay claim to – so I am not saying ‘sons and daughters’, but ‘sons’).

When the book of Proverbs says, “My son”, it is God calling out to any and all who will submit themselves in devotion to Him and make Him their Father.

You may have a Rich Dad in your biological father and a Poor Dad in your spiritual leader. You may have an Angry Dad in the man who is mentoring you in your career and a Wise Dad in the man who comes alongside to counsel you.

Be careful who your devotional and spiritual dads are. The Jews in Jesus’ day were biological descendents of Abraham but Jesus rightly pointed out that they were children of the devil (John 8:36-44).

I suggest you dive into the book of Proverbs again and read it as if it is written personally to you, from your loving Heavenly Father.

Are You Ready for Reality?

Sarsha & Dijon are deeply in love. She desperately needs him to help her after a troubled childhood. He is totally captivated by the idea of being her troubadour. He is going to make her happy and she is going to complete him. The fantasy has begun and they eagerly marry so they can live their dream.

Many irresponsible months later, after notching up a string of giddy moments and experimental exploits Sarsha and Dijon are going to have a baby. It is one big adventure and it’s just SO exciting to them both. This is their greatest achievement and the fruit of their delirious love for each other.

But after a wrenching year of incredible duress the couple are struggling to maintain their marriage. They DEFINITELY will NEVER have another child. Babies are just SO demanding. The impact of the baby on their free-wheeling lifestyle has been traumatic. The load placed on their flimsy relationship has almost been to breaking point.

What went wrong? Why didn’t the baby fit into the fantasy? Why did the bubble of delusion ever have to be burst? Why couldn’t the baby just do what the parents wanted it to do? Why couldn’t they just continue their silly game with a baby as part of the picture?

What went wrong for this couple is that Reality hit. Their foolishness did not dictate reality, but simply hid their eyes from it. Giddy giggles are not the stuff on which real life is built. Shallow personalities and empty values are straw, no matter what they dress up as.

This couple was not ready for reality, but reality is what they had. Over the next few years they will both mature, even if painfully and haltingly. They will finally come to the place where they see other things than their fantasies. Hopefully that day will come, for their sakes and for the sake of their baby.

Immaturity and romantic fantasies do not prepare people for parenting. And in our highly peer-streamed culture few young adults have shared in the care and nurture of babies and children. Many young mums have never held a baby before their own. Many young dads are ill-prepared for the invasion of a young dependent baby into their home.

Children are a blessing from God and are God’s reward. Yet many people reel in shock under the unexpected impact of a baby in their life. The problem is not with the baby, but with the way our culture prepares people for reality. The “happily ever after” stories and self-indulgent values rob many of reality and undermine their chances of a healthy start to marriage and family.

The reality check which comes from a first child and the work-load resulting from a growing family are what contribute to a person’s maturity. I have heard it said of a young man and woman at times, they have much going for them but will be so much better value once they have been married and started a family. The experience of facing realities which marriage and babies force upon them brings out a maturity and strength that is needed.

I encourage those who have not yet started a family to spend time with those who have. I encourage those who have young children to actively involve children, youth and young adults in the experience of caring for the child. These experiences help bring reality into the understanding, and protect people from the fantasies that would otherwise overwhelm them.