It was dark out, the type of dark where you can barely see your hand in front of your face. The only things we could see were a billion stars and the imposing silhouette of the mountain we were going to climb. As we started hiking toward it, I thought, “Is it really necessary to be up this early?” It was. We reached the summit sometime in the morning, around four hours after we started hiking. As we were coming down the mountain, one of the hikers asked if we could take a break. Our guide’s answer was immediate and firm: “No, Ben. We need to move now.” There was a storm rolling in and the last place you should be during a lightning storm is on top of a mountain.
That’s why we got up so early. Thunder storms typically hit around noon, and our guide was well aware. He navigated us through it perfectly. If you are a dad, storms will hit with regularity. We are going to get hit by dad challenges; it’s just a part of the gig. The key is knowing what the dad challenges are and then how to walk through them well. Here are 5 troubles every dad encounters and how to overcome them.
1. Lifestyle Change
One of the first difficulties many dads face is when they become dads. The freedom they once enjoyed is over, forever. A dad never stops being a dad. When you have a child, there’s a weight of responsibility that may feel different over the years, but it never goes away. The weight gets greater as the family grows.As the weight of fatherhood gets heavier, our strength to carry it increases.
Overcome: But as the weight of fatherhood gets heavier, our strength to carry it increases. Remember, the God who created everything is also the one who made you a dad. In Isaiah 41:10, he affirms, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
2. Financial Hardship
There have been so many days since I became a dad when I wondered if we were going to survive. This was especially true when my wife was pregnant and we had a 1-year-old. My wife lost her salary when she was put on bedrest, and I got fired. One child, pregnant wife, medical bills, no income. Most dads will face financial hardship at some point. Kids cost a lot.
Overcome: But their worth is immeasurable. They’re worth the sacrifice. Do your best with what you have. You have what you need. Work on being grateful and content. Meanwhile, don’t forget, God provides. Luke 12:24 says, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
3. Rebellion or Relational
Relationships are messy, especially the ones that are closest. In a family, there is bound to be relational trouble, or even all out rebellion from kids. Teenagers in particular are wired to test boundaries and to argue. They are impulsive and lacking in the ability to weigh cause and effect the way a fully grown adult can. It makes life difficult. We want the best for them and to ensure their safety, but they can be disrespectful, dismissive, and combative.
Overcome: They don’t know better—we do. So do your best to be understanding and empathetic while also being consistent and firm. Be gracious when they’re not. Ephesians 4:29 encourages us: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
I’m not quite certain how my parents survived the stress I put on them. In my younger years, I had broken my arm, foot, and skull. I had scars all over my head, still do, and pretty much thought head trauma and hospitals were a way of life when I was 5. As dads, our kids will have sickness, health struggles, or accidents. The worry and pain from that are overwhelming.
Overcome: But God understands the worry and the pain. He knows what it’s like to watch a loved one suffer, even die. The Apostle Peter wrote this (1 Peter 5:6–7): “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” He loves you and your kids, even more than you do.
Sound off: Out of all of your dad challenges, what’s been the most difficult?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome?”