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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal



Paul Schneidmill


In 1995, I bought a used station wagon.  I remember looking at it at the dealership prior to taking it on a test drive, and thinking, “this is a dad’s car.”  I know I was looking at what society calls a “family vehicle,” but I was looking at it from a dad’s point of view. 


I happen to be a dad and since being one, I’ve felt it was a great job to have.  Recently, my view of that has changed significantly.  To date, I’m a firm believer that being a dad is positively the best job a man can have. 


Oh, I’ve known for quite some time what a great, honorable, and rewarding position being a dad really is.  I’ve read loads of good books and stories about being a dad, actions and experiences related to fatherhood, etc., but it was only recently that a broader, fuller, and deeper realization of the far-reaching influences and responsibilities this awesome and wonderful position has, came alive for me.  Let me give you some background and I’ll tell you what happened that opened my eyes to now believe that serving as a dad is in fact, the best job a man can have. 


My two younger children (Paul - 11 and Angela - 8) are currently enjoying their summer break from school.  Both will call me at work periodically throughout the day to check on me, ask questions, and/or get permission to do stuff.  We have good communication lines, a good relationship, and we love each other immeasurably.  I am extremely thankful to God for that. 


Last month, Paul called me to let me know that he was beginning to have an interest in girls. 


Even though we are blessed with the connectedness we have, I was surprised (though I didn’t let him know it) that he would openly share and discuss such a subject with me.  You probably think I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.  On top of that, I felt a huge sense of gratitude.  My son thought enough of me to ask my help in processing and dealing with this new area of his young life.  I could feel the complete and unreserved trust and confidence he had in me as he spoke about a sensitive topic without any hesitation or uneasiness.  This was great!


He told me that he’d recently learned from his friends that several girls had liked him during the school year, and that there was one girl in particular, in another 5th grade class, that he’d noticed he liked as well.  “Why is that, dad?”      


I quickly asked God to give me what to say and how to say it, and without any previous experience or expertise in dispensing advice on matters of this magnitude, I began to give him advice and counsel I didn’t know I was able to give.    


“It’s not unusual for boys your age to begin to like girls.” I told him “What is it that you like about her?”


“Well…., she’s pretty.”   


“I can understand that.” I said, “It’s normal to be attracted to a girl because of her looks, but you want to go beyond that.  You should want to get to know more about her, her character, what her interests are, what she likes to do and stuff like that.”


“How do I do that?” he asked.


“The next time you see her, ask her how her summer is going, ask her what she likes to do, and tell her things about you.  Don’t just ask her about herself, give her information about you.”


I had the proverbial, “I could here him thinking” sensation, and he stated that he knew how he could get her telephone number.  “In that case,” I replied “call her and tell her who you are, that you’re a schoolmate of hers, ask her how she’s doing this summer, ask her what her hobbies and interests are, and tell her yours.”


Later that evening, we held a “rehearsal” for his soon-to-be, initial, one-on-one conversation with the opposite sex.  As expected, he flubbed and choked the first few times, but finally felt confident that he would be okay.


The next day, I received an enthusiastic phone call.  “Dad,” he said excitedly “I called her and it went well!  I didn’t choke.  I asked her to tell me stuff about her and I told her to ask me some questions!  She told me she was in camp, and she’s the first girl I’ve ever heard say that she likes broccoli!”


If you can remotely identify, you’ll know I felt great for a host of reasons.  My young man was getting older, was consulting me about his developing adolescence, and I was helping him develop by placing within him the godly qualities my heavenly Father has placed within me.  I began to recall how late in my career with the military, the same year I bought that station wagon; I had turned down a long awaited (and much deserved, if you ask me) promotion to Sergeant First Class, so I would not have to accept a re-assignment away from that then two-year-old little guy; during what I believed was a very important, formative year of his life.  That decision was, and is proving to be, a good one. 


Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  The Hebraic translation of the phrase “train up,” as it relates to my job as a dad to my children, means to dedicate, engrave, initiate, teach, and literally “track” them in the correct and proper path that will lead them to their purpose within the family and kingdom of God.


As a child, I loved trains and wanted to be a conductor.  Now, as a dad, I have the privilege and responsibility of “train-tracking” my children to follow Christ, and I am the “train” conductor!  That’s why I believe that serving as a dad is the best job a man can have.  It is definitely a service and I absolutely love my job!


Finally, I know that in order to serve and serve well as a dad, I must: be devoted to serving as a dad, be faithful in serving as a dad, keep working at serving as a dad, and continue learning this form of service from my Father. 


This is important to me…especially since I don’t expect it will be too long (at least four years, I hope and pray) before my daughter decides to give me a similar telephone call.          




Copyright 2004 © Paul Schneidmill