There are 5 relational styles men use to hide. The first style is called, “The Little Boy.”
The Peter-Pan syndrome is the classic example of the Little Boy. The little boy can be fun to play with, but lacks any strength to accomplish something worthwhile. Their innocence is masked insecurity because it has never been tested, therefore they beg you not to leave them. The little boy is negligent to his responsibilities. His heart idol desire is a longing for comfort and fun.
In contrast to the Little Boy is the Father.
The Father is not a mere biological producer of children, but a man who chooses to unhide by taking responsibility for his children and sacrifices his idols of fun and comfort.
I have always quipped that if I ever got a tattoo I would get 33 emblazoned on my shoulder, because that is the number of diapers I personally changed in one day when the triplets were born. I would want my boys to understand that The Father is the one who sacrifices himself for his wife and children and is willing to do the dirty work.
Often, I will counsel men whose wives are “ready to have kids” but these men are hesitant because they are just not ready. They need a little more advancement in their careers, or a slightly larger home, or a few more seasons of fantasy football with their former fraternity brothers before they are “ready.”
The truth is if we are ever called to do something sacrificial like being The Father, then there will never be the ideal time. Sacrificing sleep, career ambitions, independence, financial resources, marital attention and that dream of a BMW for a minivan, are all part of being called to be The Father. If there was an ideal time, then it would not be a sacrifice.
We are able to understand the call of The Father because this is what God demonstrates for us: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom ‘fatherhood’ in heaven and on earth is named.” That Fatherhood is a steadfast, sacrificial, enduring type of love that is lavishing and demonstrable: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Therefore, the move from the Little Boy to the Father requires a move away from negligent irresponsibility and a sacrifice of comfort and fun. The day I was handed my daughter was the day where I suddenly felt that call towards diligent responsibility and sacrificial love. As I pushed my wife out the door of the hospital in a wheelchair as she was holding the carseat in her lap, I turned to the orderly and said, “Don’t I need to pass a test or sign a form or something to leave?” He kindly looked at me and smiled saying, “No sir, pretty much the rest of your life will be the test of Fatherhood.”