“Fathers are …” — Notes on Fatherhood from Sho Baraka

  by Andrew Wolgemuth

As you may have seen, hip-hop artist and all-around wise man Sho Baraka spoke recently at a dadcraft-hosted men’s breakfast at Colorado Community Church. To a packed house of a couple hundred+ guys, Sho highlighted five key aspects to being a dad and they’re worth mulling on.

First, Fathers are Stewards. The nature of a steward is that he has been trusted with something significant. Ultimately, someone else is in charge, and that someone has asked the steward to care for things in his stead. So it is with our role as fathers – God hasn’t given us children as some sort of permanent possession, but he has trusted them to us and asked us to play a unique, critical role in their lives.

Second, Fathers are Storytellers. In this noisy, confusing world that’s throwing mixed messages every which way, our children need context and direction. They need to understand the situation in which they find themselves, to see where they’re headed, and to grasp the role they play in the process. Sho challenged dads to be storytellers for their families, answering these needs and pointing them towards the one who provides a true, lasting identity for our children.

Third, Fathers are Fighters—that is, we’re pro-active, on the edge of our proverbial seats, engaged, and in the fray. In contrast, Sho noted that the Bible is replete with examples of passive men who were merely reactive … and whose families frequently suffered as a result (see: Winslow, Carl).

As a simple example, we can only be effective storytellers within our families if we’re telling stories that proactively encourage character development. As a less simple example, Fathers who are Fighters see wrongs that exist in the world and fight for righting those wrongs and seeking reconciliation.

Fourth, Fathers are Servants. We play a unique, irreplaceable role in our families, but we’re to do so humbly. We father not through command and control but through embracing the mundane and serving in ways that will never been fully known or appreciated.

Fifth and finally, Fathers are Lovers. On this point, Sho spoke primarily to the married men in the room, reminding each to love his wife well. Doing so serves as a long-term model for our kids as they (eventually) create their own families, while also – in the short-term – providing a stable environment from which to make their way in the world. The reality is that this applies even to dads who aren’t married: A household filled with love for the family makes for a safe, secure home … a good launch pad for life.

As I hope the above communicates, the breakfast with Sho was encouraging, empowering, and humbling. The call of fatherhood and the core of dadcraft is a challenging, others-centric life that stretches and enlivens us. May you and I live into that as stewards, storytellers, fighters, servants, and lovers.