For those of you who missed it (most, if not all of you) here is my thought for the day from BBC Radio Bristol’s Programme. I’ll be doing this every Wednesday morning throughout February at around 7.40 am on 94.9 FM, or you can listen online live (or later as a podcast) via the BBC Bristol Website.
Do you know, when I come onto the breakfast show, I always get introduced as being a local writer. But like the rest of us, I’m more than what I do for a living. I’m also a stay-at-home dad. And mostly this is an absolute joy – but my thoughts for this day, as they have been for more than a week now, are with my daughter who is sick and running a fever. Far from being a much maligned absent father, or a selfish parent who is undermining the wellbeing of my child, I’ve been a very present one. Around the clock I’ve nursed her. I’ve made sure she takes her medicine, kept her warm, fed and entertained her. And in the dead of night, I’ve even prayed for her – which in the Christian tradition means praying to a God we call Father. Not because he (or she) has a gender, but because we believe God relates to us as a parent – being revealed as one who is committed and encouraging, caring, loving, disciplining at times – but also forgiving. Of course, given the pressures of being a parent, especially when we feel we are being criticised by government departments and charity reports, the last thing we need is a Divine Daddy to be measured against. But to think this way is to miss the point. We’re not being judge on our parenting skills with some kind of God-scale. It’s about the comfort of knowing that we are never alone as a parent. It’s about the support that comes from believing that God understands what it’s like. To paraphrase the words of Jesus – ‘You know how to be good parents – so be encouraged by the thought that God cares about your children as much (if not more) than you do.’