President Bush's approval poll numbers have been down lately. They are far below the stratospheric high 80's and low 90's he enjoyed right after 09/11/2001. What has happened is that he made a hard decision to take our country into a war that is becoming increasingly unpopular. Since the decision to go into Iraq, he has been attacked by the media and the members of the Democratic Party in Congress. But he made the decision he made because he strongly believed that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to our nation and the world and that we could not afford to take a "wait and see" posture in a "post 9/11 world."
Whether you agree with his decision or not, there is something admirable about a man who is willing to buck the popular tide and do what he believes is "the right thing." The leader of our nation portrays a character trait that is needed today among fathers. It is such a temptation to want to be "liked" by our kids, especially when they say, "but Mr. And Mrs._______let their kids do it!" When that occurs we feel the pressure to be liked and accepted, not only coming from our own kids, but our parental peers.
Our president is charged with sometimes the very lonely responsibility to defend our nation as its commander-in-chief. He is armed with intelligence that has convinced him that we are facing a determined and capable enemy that needs to be killed before they kill us. In the same way a father and mother are charged with the protection of their children and are armed with the "intelligence" of God's word and their greater life experience. The combination of these two things convinces them that this enemy (the devil himself) is extremely determined and capable of destroying their children's lives.
It is easy to be a dad when our popularity, our personal approval poll numbers are up; when they appear to think we can do no wrong. Most of us as dads have been there on occasion, but very few of us stay there. Because they are OUR kids and they inherited the same rebellious nature that we ourselves possess, we Inevitably need to confront our kids' stubborn, selfish, sinful wills.
I received an email recently from a father who said he just doesn't recognize his teen aged daughter anymore. She has fallen in with the wrong crowd and is becoming involved in smoking marijuana. He realizes that he now must put some drastic consequences in place to rescue her from continuing down this path, but in our culture that is obsessed with the desire to be "liked" by our kids, he sought my assurance before doing so. I commended him for wanting to do the right thing despite the fact that his daughter will predictably be angry at him for imposing consequences and drawing new boundaries.
King David's allowing his children to go their own way without loving, firm discipline, had disastrous consequences for them. This desire to be liked was the mistake that King David made as a father to his wayward son, Adonijah. In I Kings 1:6, we read, "His father had never interfered with him by asking 'Why do you behave as you do?' " If David, who has been described as "a man after God's own heart," could have this tendency, what makes us think that we won't struggle with this as well? Dad, if you find yourself "down in the approval polls," recognize it as a time to come together with your children's mom, to stand with her in unity and decide together that it is more important to do the right thing than to be liked.