When I was a kid, I was taught to call all of my parents’ friends either “Uncle” or “Auntie.” Never, never, never would we call adults by their first names without the proper title in front of it. I tried it once, knowing that I wouldn’t get away with it.
I was right.
Then my wife and I and our friends all started having kids, and in that new context, the rules changed. Kids grew up calling other adults (not family!) by their first names, no “Uncle” or “Auntie” required. And everyone was fine with it. Even me.
Until my kids wanted to call me by my first name.
I don’t remember who started it. But I do remember thinking that it was perfectly understandable; hadn’t we already raised them to think of adults that way? (I could almost hear my parents’ voices in my head: “See???”) And I also knew that punishing them for the infraction of an unspoken rule or creating what would seem like an arbitrary new rule wouldn’t get us where we needed to be.
So as nearly as I can remember, this is what I said: “You know, kids, anyone in the world can call me ‘Cameron,’ because that’s my name. But there are only two people in the whole world who can call me ‘Daddy.’ That’s special to me. And I would really miss it if you didn’t do that anymore.”
Oh, the moments you wish you had a camera in your hands. The subject never came up again.
I meant every word I said. And even though my children are grown, “Daddy” is still part of who I am. I am not the man I was before they were born, and believe me, that’s a good thing. To quote one of my favorite comic strips, Baby Blues, I’m Dad to the bone.
It all makes me wonder: how remarkable is it that we have a God who wants us to call him Father?
Let’s not take that for granted.
Happy Father’s Day from The Fog Blog.