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On Being a Dad



Image:  Lunarbaboon

It began on May 26th, 2002, when my oldest son Ryan was born. Really, it began months prior to that with all the normal “being a father” fears being realized.

Will I know how to answer all his questions?

Will I be a good father?

Will my children always know I love them?

What if something happens to me and I’m not here to raise them?

The good news, even though I’m not totally sure of the answers to those questions, is that life moves fast enough that I couldn’t dwell on them. Being a father has changed me in ways that very few other things have. Having these three kids in my house has forced me to realize a few important things:

My words matter.  I knew this in my first few hours of being a married man, but my words really became heavy when my kids arrived. My jokes matter, my prayers matter, my encouragement matters, my discipline matters, and all in a way that they never really did before.

I can set the tone. I bear the responsibility of what my home feels like. I can decide what mood we are in just by what mood I’m in. This gives me pause each day when I arrive in my house, because I know this won’t always be the case as my kids get older and more independant.

What I do today affects tomorrow. It’s amazing what my kids remember that I don’t. Everyday is an investment into tomorrow. I want my teenagers to talk to me when they are teenagers, so I’m trying really hard to make that happen when they are 7, 9 and 11.

Time with them is important. I’ve learned that 30 minutes at bedtime is more valuable than any 2 hour Skype chat or Facetime interaction. Being with them is sometimes the only thing I have to bring, and thankfully it’s usually all they want.


Calling all fathers. Anything being a Dad has taught you?  


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.