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Father’s Day Interview: Christian Bookstore Owner’s Fatherhood Reflection

Father’s Day Interview: Christian Bookstore Owner’s Fatherhood Reflection

A picture shows a man embracing the rain with open arms. A picture shows a man embracing the rain with open arms.(pixabay.com)
BySteve Sun June 27, 2022
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Editor's note: June 19th, 2022 is Father’s Day. Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, interviewed Christian fathers from different provinces and hoped that their reflections bring grace, hope, and strength to our readers who are fathers.

The following is about Ming’s dad from Jiangsu Province, who is a bookstore owner. To everyone who knows him, he is an ambitious young man who loves reading and sharing. His colleagues testify that he is good at doing housework. In child-rearing, he often shows delicate love and gives companionship to his child, which is approved by many friends.

The following is the interview:

Christian Times: What do you think of the role that fathers should play in children’s lives?

Ming: My child will be three years old soon, and it’s a boy. I think in my role I should first of all set an example for him because my children like to imitate my various behaviors, including the way I walk or speak. Secondly, the father is an educator. When a child grows up, it is easy for them to acquire bad habits so the father needs to correct them at any time. For Christians, fathers should especially introduce their Heavenly Father to their children.

Thirdly, the father is a giver including giving the child material things such as food and drink or toys and books. I should give love to my child, which is also very important. Fourthly, the father is the guide of the child. When the child encounters a problem, he should provide the child with an answer and find a way out. Fifthly, the father is the protector of the child. When the child is bullied or in danger, he can provide the most basic help so that the child can have a sense of security in this world. Last, a father should be a friend of his children not only in a vertical relationship but also in a horizontal friendship where he can open his heart and exchange many thoughts. Everyone who is a father will have a lot of experience. In fact, it is the father who gains more in the process of child-rearing.

Christian Times: What do you think are the most important elements of being a father who lives up to God’s expectations?

Ming: I think if I want to be a father after God's heart, I must first really know God. If you don’t even know God yourself, you don’t speak of how to be a father after God’s heart. However, knowing God is a difficult lesson, and it is something we have to do all our lives.

Secondly, you need to truly love your family, your wife, and your children and put the love taught in your faith into practice in your real life.

Third, you need to control your impulsivity well. Family life will make us show a lot of our impulsivity and raising children will show even more of it. Children are out of our control, and sometimes they might want to rebel against you, so you must control your temper well. If you do have impulsivity, you must apologize in time and get your child’s forgiveness.

Fourthly, you should live well and love life. If you don’t love life, how can you make your children love life? How we live will affect how our children will live - that is basically certain. Therefore, we must find a way to learn to like our life, live out the beautiful image of God, and enjoy the abundance given by God.

Christian Times: As a father, how do you communicate with your child?

Ming: This question is too challenging. Every communication with children often ends in failure. However, once in a while, it will have a good effect. To communicate with children, the most important thing is to have patience and the other is to have wisdom. Because we are not always wise so we have to be patient. Wisdom helps us find an effective way to communicate with children, and patience allows us to have enough time to find this wisdom. Every child is different, and what worked last time probably won’t work this time. Learn to divert your child’s attention and use something else to change their current mind.

For example, if they don’t want to sleep, put their favorite toy on the bed. Or if they don’t want to close their eyes and want to see the stars over the roof, tell them that they can see them, but they can only watch them 10 times. If I count from one to ten, my child has to close their eyes. Another example, if they want to play all the time, just tell them that they can play, but ‘only one more time or I will take away the toys now. There are too many methods, which don’t always work, and children have a strong resistance to instructions. If one method is used several times, it will probably become useless so we have to keep thinking of new methods.

However, it is a very interesting process to fight with children, and we don’t have to convince them every time. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to lose to them? Isn’t even our Heavenly Father often “defeated” by us sinners? So, just enjoy this process, and children won’t have any irreparable tragedy just because they don’t listen to us once or twice.

Christian Times: How are you doing in giving your child love discipline and reward?

Ming: At present, my child is too young and not sensible. I still let him play more and enjoy the present time. Give him some simple rules, such as when to go to bed and when to get up. If you are obedient, your father can play with you. These kinds of simple rules and rewards.

Christian Times: What do you think of the importance of a father’s company with his children?

Ming: Personally, I think it’s rather very important. I prefer to accompany my child and enjoy the time. Although sometimes I hate my child being so clingy, it’s more often that I enjoy the feeling of being stuck by a child. My request for myself is that as long as I am at home at night and there is nothing special, I will put my child to bed. Of course, because there is only one child now, you can do this. If I have two children in the future, I don’t know what I will do. In addition, if there are no special circumstances, I always dress my child in the morning. Because the time at home is really limited, I hope I can use it to accompany my children.

Christian Times: Please share one thing between you and your child that touched you or is memorable.

Ming: I can’t think of anything specific, but sometimes I think it’s really a very happy thing to have children, a very happy thing. Looking at my child is like looking at myself; How I love this child, I believe, will be the same as how the  Heavenly Father loves me. I believe even more. I will have a truer understanding of His love. No matter what happens, the Father always wants me to live better. This is the truth of everything in life!

-Translated by Charlie Li

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