Just Like Dad

My sons have recently developed a desire that has become quite frustrating.

Whether they’re going to school, getting ready for church, or simply playing outside, they want to dress just like their dad. They want their shoes to match or to wear the same color shirt. They want to imitate me down to the very last detail.

If I had one child, that might be a realistic expectation, but with three boys, it has become downright comical.

It’s not at all uncommon for all three of them to be consumed with inconsolable emotion because “my shirt doesn’t have buttons all the way down”, or “dad’s not wearing jeans to work.”

My wife hides her head in her hands and I, well, I just hide.

There’s a temptation for me to scream, to lose my cool, to lay down the law, to put an end to all of this nonsense.

But not today.

Dress Like Daddy

Like dad

Me and Dad circa 1986

As I was struggling with how to handle my sons proclivity to copy my wardrobe, my mom sent me this picture.

If this would have been a video, I’m pretty sure Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” was playing on the record player in the background.

That’s me and my dad in all of our 1980s splendor. Forgive the short tie, I’m almost certain it was a clip-on.

This picture is a gentle reminder for me today.

A reminder for a son to cherish time with his father. A reminder for a father to cherish time with his sons.

Today is my dad’s 60th birthday.

He is an amazing man. And the truth is, when I grow up, I hope to be just like him. I look up to him now as much as I did back then. Actually, probably more.

With all of the things that have changed in the last thirty years, one thing has remained: my dad really is my hero.

When I think about my boys, it’s my greatest hope that, in thirty years, they would feel the same about me.

Imitating the Father

One of my greatest challenges in life and in fatherhood is the struggle to be present. To live in each moment. My mind constantly distracts me with to-do lists and anticipation of things to come.

My cellphone takes precedence and my desire to provide overrides my responsibility to be present.

There’s something special in a child wanting to imitate his father that speaks to the present. That’s the place in our spirit that echoes eternity—the reminder that we have an inborn desire to imitate a Father.

Today, I’m grateful that I have a father, both on earth and in heaven, who were willing to invest in me.

An earthly father who let me dress up like him and a heavenly Father who chose to dress up like me.

The beauty of this big picture is that it is a reflection of God’s love for us.

A love so grand that He clothed the eternal in mortal flesh and blood to give us an example.

He imitated us and asks that we imitate Him.


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  • That’s powerful couple of last lines, thank you! I always get so intimidated as to whether I am imitatable! It’s such powerful reminder of the lives we are called to live beyond reproach which we reach because we are imitating him. Thanks Matt.

    • Thanks, Ralph. It’s a reminder that I need often.

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