The Fatherhood Chronicles XXXV

I had not intended to do any blogging till after 5pm today (when my grades are due), but Sofie didn’t synchronize her sleep schedule with my grading today. She’s up. I really can’t focus on grading. She’s in her bouncy saucer next to me at the computer, and seems content for a few minutes. So here goes.

There have been a couple of occasions over the last month which have really highlighted something for me. My language is more G-rated. And I’m not as funny as I used to be. And it’s all Sofie’s fault.

When I was graduating from Bible college, I had gone through a couple of years questioning some of the major tenets and social mores of my conservative evangelical upbringing. I had discovered and developed an appreciation for great classical human achievements in the arts and music and philosophy and literature (this was a good thing). I had also come to realize that consuming wine and other alcoholic beverages was not the ultimate sin–though one must of course not be drunk on wine but filled with the Holy Spirit. Though smoking is not to be encouraged, I also developed an appreciation for smoking a pipe–though it takes me about a year and a half to work through two ounces of tobacco. Neither of these things are bad in themselves, though potentially destructive. Then there was the “liberalization” of my tongue. I came to a rather casuistrical understanding that swearing, far from being a huge sin, was, gosh, a rhetorical tool.

Then Sofie came. Arts, music, literature and philosophy: still good things. Wine, beer, Scotch: adiaphora. Smoking a pipe: caution is to be observed. Swearing: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT, BUSTER!!

I could see Sofie appreciating arts, music, literature, and philosophy. I could see her enjoying and responsibly using wine. Smoking? Um, rethinking that one. Swearing: Yeah, right. I want to see my daughter rip off “Shut the f*** up you g****** m******F*****!!” (Shudders. Wipes brow.) No. She’ll hear it soon enough from the world. She needs to know it’s not appropriate. She can only learn that it is inappropriate from me (and her momma).

I’m also not finding the humor in things I once did. Take for example the religion articles in The Onion. I have on a couple of occasions started to post a couple of stories at which I chuckled. Then I thought better of it. What is Sofie going to think when at church we worship Christ the Harrower of Hell (depicted in our wall-sized icon in the sanctuary), but at home Daddy laughs his head off at: “Christ Converts to Islam”?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand there’s a place for satire. And if one can’t mock one’s own failures and hypocrisies (which satire attacks), then one has a real problem.

But Sofie is too young to know the difference. And won’t know the difference for some time.

No, I’m raising a daughter now. I am at this very moment teaching her the Faith . . . or disavowing it through my words and behavior. She needs to know that a mouth that praises God cannot speak in ways that dishonor God. She needs to know that God gave us humor, but not everything is to be laughed at.

Did I say it was Sofie’s fault? No. It’s not her fault. Rather, I have been given the grace to see myself through her eyes. I didn’t like what I saw. Time to change.

3 thoughts on “The Fatherhood Chronicles XXXV

  1. Tim:

    Yes, I am desiring to be God’s dad for Sofie. It is damnably hard work. I’m such a wretch, so self-centered.

    But that’s the grace of it. Sofie has me confronting my sin and helplessness, and confessing that sin and asking for God’s strength and His mercy.

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