Intentional Dads Can Feel Awkward Too

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Man and his daughter

I had no idea what she was talking about.

On the calendar it says, “Starbucks with Dad.” It’s my time to connect individually with each of the kids. Before school, we head to buy really expensive lattes. I brewed mine at home so my kids don’t drink away my paycheck.

But $5 a week seems a small investment for quality daddy time—$7 for Brantley. She has expensive tastes.

Brantley talked about instagram and some other photo app called snap click or pop write or kick photo, which allows you to send a photo and write on it. I think that’s what she said. Easy. I need to get it on my phone.

If Brantley can find a job where she takes pictures of herself all day and posts them she’ll be set for life. Every time I plug in my IPad I get new photos … of Brantley. Usually looking at the camera with psychedelic enhancements.

“Look at what this guy did with his picture!”

Guy, why are you looking at some random guy’s picture? “It’s really funny dad, do you see it?” I can’t see it. I’m trying to drive. “He flared his nostrils and made his face glow!” Who is he? Why is he funny?

Enough of funny guy’s photo. “Brantley, tell me three words about yourself.”

“I can’t. I tried at church. I don’t know.”

“I think you’re experiential.”


“You love being in the moment. You love certain settings.” In other words, I didn’t say, you’re like me.

“Well, I do like to control things.”

“Like what?”

“Well if I’m in a group I end up being the one who does stuff cause everyone else is quiet.”

“That means you’re a leader. You take control. That’s a good thing.”

She shrugged.

“I think you’re romantic.”


“Not in a relationship sort of way – but you love the ideal. You already see what you want to do with my (your eventual) 99 Honda Civic. You want a light for the mirror and a plush pink steering wheel cover. You want to have your lattes by the fire. You dream of the perfect experiences. You want everything to be just right.”

I didn’t tell her that means she’ll see me as dashing her dreams when I block her from going on a date with that boy or from heading up to NYC with her girlfriends at age 17. I didn’t tell her that someone would break her heart to pieces.

She’ll crave, live, and pursue the ideal and reality will drop kick her in the stomach. But when the dream comes true … when you fly across the world pursuing one woman, when you finish the book, when you climb the mountain, you, as romantic, fly in air unattainable for those walking in cement shoes of pragmatism.

We were first in line at the carpool lane. We had 30 minutest to kill. I wanted to talk about God. We ended up playing Harry Potter trivia. I nailed the Griffyndor round but fell flat on Slytherin.

We listened to a mix of Switchfoot, Taylor Swift, and Toby Mac.

She had a Devo app, and so we read today’s. It talked about Jesus’ condescension to earth. That sounded a lot like condensation. She erupted into the evaporation, condensation, run off, jingle from earth science.

So Jesus came down. He dropped in on the shepherds. He spent time with the dropouts, dead beats, and unknowns. He entered into our world.

I wonder if He felt as uncomfortable as I do when I try to enter hers. I’m not the dad I want to be. They’re unmasking the dad they imagined me to be. But I’m their dad. I pray I point them to a better dad.

Brian Goins serves as pastor at Renaissance Bible Church in Charlotte, N.C. He received his Masters of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and worked as Creative Director for Insight for Living before going into church ministry. He’s written for a number of Christian leaders including Chuck Swindoll, Chip Ingram, and Tommy Nelson.

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