In his famous poem “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost wrote about deciding to take a route “less traveled” and how that choice changed his life. As single dads we too face a decision. We can stay in the car and keep going. It’s a good road and it will get us places. Or we can get out of the vehicle and stroll down that other pathway. I meet men all the time who have ignored the less familiar road, preferring the comfort of the ruts made from previous travelers. For me, it’s often an ongoing challenge to be still, to be his child. The lesser-worn road is one I need desperately to take; yet so often I find myself on the well-worn road of activity and good works. Can I suggest you turn off your engine and come with me? Let’s discover together something we might be missing.
I oscillate between keeping my spiritual life more private like Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6 or modeling it openly—so my kids can see me praying, reading the Bible, and giving tithes. I want to model these disciplines, but is that pretentious? On top of that, I often unpack spiritual conversations strategically while driving with my kids or grab opportunities while taking walks with them.
All this is good. Scripture says that we are to bring our children up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The two sides of this admonition mean to educate them with both correction and teaching. This is most effective when we learn to simply be a Christian in front of them. Talking about what it means to be a Christian is great, but let them see what the Christian life looks like when you live that out in the midst of trials or pain. How do we do that?