Celebrating the Unique Role of Fathers

By Jessica Wolstenholm

It is no secret that men and women are different. We were created that way on purpose and each gender displays the characteristics of our Creator in unique ways. There are so many times throughout my marriage when I have wished that my husband and I could share a brain so things could go exactly as I wanted them to. But I have come to see that oftentimes our differences are actually advantageous and allow us to approach life in a more well-rounded and less monochromatic way. And that has never been more evident than in this season of raising our children.


As a wife and mother, I pray often for the Lord to guide my husband, specifically to guide him to make the decisions that are best for our family. I trust that the Lord hears those prayers and plants just the right thoughts and ideas in my husband’s heart to lead our children well. And I’m learning that even when he approaches parenting differently than I might, different isn’t bad, it’s just different. And time after time as I watch my husband bring his male-ness to the front lines of parenting, I stand back and observe with a deep appreciation of how God is using him to shape these little souls that we both love so much.


When my son wants to ride his bike down to his friend’s house and play over there for a little while I want to say no! I want him to stay at home and be with me where I can see him and make sure he is safe and where I don’t have to worry about him. But my husband has no reservations. As a father he desires for his son to learn independence, people skills, and the opportunity to exercise his good judgment muscles and he knows playing with friends is a great way to develop these characteristics.


When my daughter gets the serious wiggles and needs to let out some energy and some decibels my husband sends her outside to play. But when she gets sweaty or tired I am quick to let her come inside. But that is not necessarily what is best for her. My husband encourages her to continue playing outside. As her father my husband wants his daughter to be strong and resilient and not let a few beads of sweat put an end to her enjoying the sunshine.


My son tends to be very reserved and not as self-assertive as other boys his age. Of course it worried me and so I started to pray for God to make a way for him to learn how to be more confident. About a month ago my husband and my son started taking jiu-jitsu classes together. I can’t even tell you how much that has helped my son step out of his comfort zone and grow his confidence in his own abilities. I’m not sure what I thought it would take to help my son in this area but I can assure you that martial arts would not have been my go-to solution. But the Lord gave my husband this idea and it has been so beneficial for both of them. As a father, my husband wants our son to develop strength, courage, and discipline, and this has been a great way to bring about those character traits.


This month we celebrate fathers. Today I want to celebrate the different way my husband sees the world and the beautiful and intentional way in which it propels my family forward for more of what God has for us. I cannot even tell you the number of times I’ve been taken completely aback by what my husband has proposed, proceeded reluctantly, and then been so surprised and humbled by the way it has been exactly what our children needed. I am very thankful for those experiences.

So here’s to dads everywhere for taking responsibility for their families and seeking the Lord through it all. Here’s to dads for bringing all the manliness to the table and displaying the immense courage and dedication it takes to lead a family well. And here’s to dads everywhere, sacrificing their own comfort and agenda and displaying the humble servant-leadership of our Savior.


Happy Father’s Day to you.

Originally published on June 16, 2017