|Courtesy of PhotoPin.com
In case you don’t follow me on the Twitter, which you should, here is some news.
I’m going to be a father.
In a few months I’ll be cradling a small boy or girl in my arms and my life will never be the same.
It is exciting news, but not everyone reacts that way.
When my wife realized she was pregnant, she couldn’t stop smiling and talking about our future child.
Her mother and sisters were ecstatic, as were the other women in the church congregation.
The men were a different story.
They still said their “Congratulations” and “I’m so excited for yous” like everyone usually does. But it was awkward.
It was like all the guys didn’t know what to say or do when they heard that news.
When we announced to the whole church that we were expecting, everyone wanted to pray for us.
But the prayers went from being about mom, dad and baby to mom and baby. No dad.
Do other men experience this awkwardness when kids are on the way?
Do people not know what to say to expectant fathers?
Do they not know what or how to pray for them?
I’m by no means condemning the men in my church. When I stopped to think about it, I didn’t know what I would say or pray other than what was.
After some careful thought and reflection, I came up with 4 things that men can say and pray about when it comes to expectant fathers so things aren’t so awkward. They may even be uplifting and encouraging moments.
1. Encourage the parenthood potential already there
I’m not a chronic doubter. But I have my moments, like most people do.
And when the news hit my ears that I was going to be a dad, doubt was not far behind my overwhelming joy.
Raising a child is scary business.
As a parent, you are responsible for raising a child in the way they should go, so when they are old they will not turn away (Proverbs 22:6).
What every expectant father needs is encouragement, especially from other fathers and men, that there is already a parenting gift inside of them.
The great thing about parenting is that it is not limited to your own children. It often spills over onto other kids. Parenting happens when you see someone assisting, helping, coaching, uplifting any one.
Let any expectant father know that you see this happening in his life.
It goes a long way to reassure him that he has what it takes to parent his coming child.
2. Make your conversation about more than sex
You’ve probably seen it in the movies.
All the guys at the bar hear that their young comrade is expecting a baby.
The ribbing and teasing begins.
And most of the jokes melt down to this statement: Finally, you are a real man because you had sex.
Besides the ignorant view of masculinity, that doesn’t help a new dad at all.
There is a lot more to being a dad than the ability to have sex.
Anyone can have sex.
It takes something special to raise a child and to build a home.
So don’t reduce this monumental event to a physical act.
Talk about what happens next.
Give him banking and accounting advice so that he has ideas about saving for future college expenses.
Bring up helpful ways or alternative ways to educating and discipling a child.
Share your opinions on circumcisions and vaccinations.
Yes, some people measure manhood by the ability to have offspring, but that isn’t it.
Give advice, insight, anything you can with the new father. Because chances are he hasn’t thought about it and could use the help.
3. Pray for wisdom about the important things
After giving all that financial advice and telling a new dad about the benefits of circumcision, be sure to pray for him.
Not just the mother and the baby, but the dad specifically.
Often times, people pray for the mother and baby’s health and well being, and rightly so.
But dad is quietly shoved in the background.
|Courtesy of PhotoPin.com
This should not be the case.
According to Scripture, the man is the head of the household (1 Corinthians 11).
Because of this new life, the husband and father’s life has taken on a whole new dimension.
No longer is it just what is good for husband and wife, and let’s do that. A baby must be considered into every situation.
Another mouth to feed. Another room to fill with a bed, a dresser to fill with clothes.
It is going to take a new level of wisdom and understanding to make the best choices for the whole family now. These are things that this new father has never had to think of or deal with.
Prayer for wisdom is one of the best things that you can do for him.
4. Pray for strength in all the coming situations
One thing I am not looking forward to about this baby is the amount of sleep that my wife and I are going to lose.
And every parent knows that we will lose that sleep forever.
And as much as we are going to lose sleep, patience and sanity are not far behind.
The challenges of dealing with a crying baby are more than enough to break even the strongest of wills.
Add on top of that trying to work with, not against, your spouse in their lack of sleep, sanity and patience moments.
I’m sure there are numerous marriages and families that have been destroyed forever because of things as small as this.
What every couple needs, new fathers included, is strength.
Strength to make it through the day without killing one another, or their baby.
Strength to hold onto the truth that there are better days ahead, even if it feels like tomorrow will just be another day of screaming and crying.
Strength to deal with the reality that life will never be the same, and that they would soldier on anyways.
Strength to know that they are not alone in this circumstance and that there are others a phone call away that are willing to help.
That doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things an expectant father needs strength for. But for sure, he needs prayer for more and more as the days go by.
Those are 4 things that you could be, and should be, saying and praying for when you meet an excepting father.
But there are a lot more.
What else can we say to our expectant fathers?
What do these men need prayer for specifically?
Let me know in the comments.
If you want more awesome blog content, follow me here on WordPress, add me to your Google+ circles, or follow me on Twitter, @regrivett
And be sure to share, like and +1 this post as much as you can. It means a lot to me.