Each night before I go to bed, I have a routine I regularly follow and it has reached a point where my children have decided I have obsessive/compulsive disorder. I check the locks.
Specifically, I check the locks on the house doors after I let the dog in. It is not OCD behavior to me as I only do it once and only before I turn in for the night, but it will prevent blissful slumber for me should I somehow fail to follow the set routine and find myself in bed without performing my duty.
The definitive lock that got me started down my path of habitual lock-keeping is the external door to my youngest daughter’s bedroom. She is almost twenty-years-old, in college, and entertains her own schedule; a schedule that most of the time is different from the rest of the family. As a result, she swapped bedrooms with my wife and I not long ago in order to get a room with its own outside entrance. Although she assures me she ‘never uses that door’ and there is sufficient evidence provided by the amount of cob webs growing in the hinges - I still check her door each night. It gives me peace of mind and a dad not only needs that, but basks in the security of it. After all, responsibility for the safety of my children is mine and mine alone. I understand that and of course, I get it.
But I would be remiss as a father if all I did to ascertain the safety of my children in this world was based solely upon checking the door locks on a nightly basis. So much more is required of a parent. There are bills to foot, and homework to help with, activities to attend, and things to be taught. Praise must be administered in a timely manner, and correction should be implemented on at least a customary schedule to simulacrum their minds around what is and what is not appropriate for newly recruited members of our society. Parents, myself included at times, seem to have gotten good at letting the latter slide for our foot-heel generation, and the proof can be found in newspaper reports or a simple visit to the principal’s office at the local school. We are very good at defending our children; they can do no wrong. We buy them anything they desire and expect their admiration for the frivolously materialistic things only we can provide. We’ve always said we wanted our children to have better things in life than we had at their age, and now they do. But it’s a shame when you think about it.
As a parent, I know that raising my children is more than merely insuring that they make it through school with the least amount of emotional scars possible. I have more onuses on me than simply teaching them the rules and making sure they follow them to the letter of the law. These are good things and a child that grasps the conspicuousness of each should do all right as they travel the winding road that leads to their future, but a parent’s responsibility does not end there.
I also know it is my duty to ‘train them up in the way they should go’ spiritually, which should be the number one priority for any parent. I believe and have no doubt that I will answer for the way I raised my children one day, and I’ll have to have justification for my parental manner, too, whether they turn out good or bad. This is all part of being a father, along with the smaller things like checking the locks and protecting them from all of the bad things out there in the world.
Yet,could there possibly be anything more important than praying for them on a daily basis? A daddy can’t always be there, and the same temptations I faced at their age have multiplied exponentially since I was a teenager. The things they take for granted and have become jaded toward were never thought about when I was young. It’s a different world, and a tough old world at that. They need my prayers as well as my guidance, and failing at either can have serious ramifications in the lives my children.
I think about this a lot these days, and when I do I consider Job in the Bible. The scriptures tell of a time when his kids were grown, where they threw a party at one of their houses. “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed G_d in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
A parent that continually prays for his children, just in case they may have done something wrong that he was not even aware of. That’s a pretty good example of a father checking the locks, and doing his best to make sure the bad things are kept at bay.