When I think of being prepared, I think of the worst possible outcome and making sure I am ready for it. I think of earthquakes and tornados, being trapped in a hostile nation or stranded in the ocean. How can anyone be prepared for any of that? I don’t think being prepared physically is nearly as important as being prepared mentally. I must say, I feel I’m a long way off from being prepared to have my own child and I say that as honestly and humorously possible.
Even as I write this, my wife, Kim is coming down a step and flinches with pain and I can’t help but think to myself, is this it? Am I ready for this? I can’t help but have some doubt run through my mind and I start thinking that maybe I am not a good enough person, or maybe I need to change some things and be better at this and that. It’s a constant war of the mind as I sit here writing this and thinking to myself all the things I want to do better for my kids.
Living in Zambia over the last ten years, I have had the privilege to be “Uncle Brenden” to some of the most amazing kids in the world. They are so beautiful and they are as much my kids as they are anyone else’s. I feel they have prepared me for many things when it comes to being a dad. There is something different about being a father though. To think, I have fathered a child has so much weight and responsibility to it. I will have brought a life into this world and that life is mine to raise up and instill qualities that will either become a blessing to this world or a hindrance. This child will either grow up to change the world or conform to it. He or she will become a disciple or they will fall in line with the crowd, in church or out of church. So many decisions this child will have to face and I have to ask myself, am I ready for this?
I think of my kids in Zambia and how someone for them, answered that question by running. The idea of fathering a child was too big of a responsibility. Some loved their child with all their hearts, maybe so much that their hearts gave out and they left this earth early. Either way, so many of our children are left without a father because of one reason or another. I only hope that I can fill the shoes of those that left them without choice and with a courage that surpasses that of the men who chose not to stay. I don’t know if God is calling Kim and I to Zambia for a few years or for the rest of our lives, but I can tell you this, I will never stop being Uncle Brenden and I will forever strive to provide for them in a way that others have failed to.
I feel like every day I am learning new things about parenting. Things like, I don’t care how many times you asked them, you will have to ask it again, or when things get quiet, that’s when you need to check on them. And how kids say the darnedest things and most of it was things we said. The kids at Project Samuel are no exception and they have taught me so much about being a dad through being their uncle. I only hope the same can be said for them as future men and women who will go into the world and change it. I can only hope that I will be able to raise up my own child in a way that will impact the kingdom and the world around it. I look forward to introducing to you the future little Vowell very soon!