I saw two videos this week of two different fathers. The first was the video of a man with a 15-year old daughter named Hannah. Hannah means grace, but there was none for this young girl. Hannah had recently posted something on her Facebook page that was horrifically disrespectful to her parents. "My parents are slave drivers, my life sucks," etc. Typical 15 year old drama. Her father, who had dealt with this before, was done. He had HAD it. His response was a Facebook posting of his own, via video. He read the letter, ripped her a new one on how lazy and disrespectful she was, and then shot her laptop eight times to prove his point. At no point did he express how much he loved her, only how much she had hurt him. There was no discipline plan outlined. It was an angry father writing off his daughter is a publically humiliating way.
In contrast, I also saw a video about a man named Dick Hoyt. Dick's son Rick was born with severe cerebral palsy. Rick cannot talk or walk. His sharp mind is help captive within his broken body. Dick has refused throughout Rick's life to give in to Rick's brokenness. Although encouraged to give him up, Dick has remained by Rick's side throughout his life, raising his as any other child. They have developed as a marathon/triathlon team. They compete in the races as a team, Dick pulling and pushing Rick all the way. He pushes to give his son life.
Two fathers. Two children. Two sets of obstacles. Two very different styles of parenting and responses.
We are all Hannah, lashing out in rebellion and anger. We are also all Rick, broken and unable to do anything on our own strength. In turn, we parent the way we see God the Father as a parent, whether we realize it or not. Hannah's father, by his own example, sees God has the hard disciplinarian who gets where He is done with you and will eviscerate you to make His point. Dick's example is one who recognizes his son's weaknesses and says "I will not abandon you in any way. I am your strength and will give you more purpose and thrill in life than you could ever have on your own."
This is not a post intended to blame Hannah's father. What God did for me was to show me these examples in order to ask me - how do I see God the Father? Do I see Him more as Hannah's dad or Rick's dad? And how does my interpretation of my heavenly Father affect how I enter the world? How I see treat my own kids? How I respond to the obstacles around me? These are questions for self-reflection, not condemnation of others. It is in the examination of my own heart that I can grow close to my Father in heaven and once again turn it all over to Him to be my strength and shield.
In God's family, I want to be Rick, not Hannah. And the good news is...I am.