Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"I wanna be BIG"

I was talking with my sister the other day and she told me there are websites a plenty that discuss the subject of stay at home Dads. I found this to be utterly amazing, as I thought I was the first person in the modern world to blog or talk about about being a stay at home Dad. However, as my former boss was and is fond of pointing out, there are no original ideas. So go to Google and search "Stay at home Dad". You'll be amazed at the content you have to choose from. Unfortunately, this blog did not hit the first page of results. But you will find numerous organizations, articles, and books, all of which discuss how this is an up and coming trend in American society. To be honest with you, I didn't know there were any other SAHDs - as it is known - (Stay At Home Dad) or at least none who are at home because it was their primary choice. In other words, I knew people who were out of work and so had to stay at home with the kids while the wife brought home some bacon. I've heard other cases where the husband goes back to school and so by default, became an SAHD. I have to tell you, I am just utterly amazed at the pervasiveness of this phenomena!

Then I started to wonder, is this occurring in light of the current economic situation our country and world finds itself in? Could it be these people were all laid off from their jobs and so have decided to stay at home, while the wife - who may have better prospects - works. It does appear that many of these Dads are working from home or in fact, are going back to school in hopes of landing a job, while some seem to be turning their situation into a cottage industry.

So that got me thinking. How long can I be a stay at home Dad and did we make the right decision? You see, the plan was for me to stay at home so I could get our house ready to sell so we could move out of state. However, as part of a sibling elder-care trifecta (we all take care of our ailing Mom who has Alzheimer's), I'm not sure I can, in good conscience, abandon those duties and move.

So did I quit my job for nothing? Well, I like to think that I don't necessarily have control over my life in the traditional sense. I like to think that God has a lot to say about things here on Earth and that although we have the freedom to make choices and decisions, they are guided by his input and work to his glory. With that said, I would be completely disingenuous if I told you this decision and subsequent experience has been wrought with regret, for it has not. I can look back on the reasons we made the decisions we did and perhaps find fault with the original thinking, but not with the results. I have grown closer to my children than I could ever have imagined and my perspectives on life, family and the pursuit of happiness have definitely been turned inside out - for the better.

Beside the obvious warm and fuzzies associated with our story, I can also say that our financial situation is better off than it would have been if we had not made the decision to shake things up. I shudder to think how we'd be doing if we had relied on my income alone these last several months. I don't say this to brag on our financial situation, but rather to again say how you can make a decision, thinking you have most of the facts, and then trust God to work out the rest. Although we're not following our original plan, it does seem to be working in some weird way that I can't explain. Almost as if God wanted us to make this decision, but not for the reasons we could see. Now, we see things in a completely different light and have unexpected benefits to this path we've chosen. Now if things were not working out, would I be quick to give God glory? I guess we'll never know, but I'd like to think I would. If that were the case though, I'd like to think we'd quickly say "oops" and look to get back on the right path. A friend of mine once said that he makes what he feels is a sound decision and then expects God to work out the details. I have to be honest with you, I've never thought of it that way. But I guess, this is what has happened in our life.

So what's the point of today's blog? I guess to say that sometimes we have to make decisions, big decisions and that's part of being a grown-up. Sometimes I "wish" I could be a kid again, and let my parents make all the tough choices while I sit back and play in the backyard. Unfortunately, that only works for about 20 years or so in an ideal situation, and then it's your turn. You have to be the grown up, like Tom Hanks' character in the movie Big who "wished" to be big, not realizing exactly what it was he'd be giving up. Suddenly you are the one needing to decide where to live, where to work, etc. These are BIG decisions, certainly not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately for us, we can't simply "wish" to be small again and then find ourselves walking down an oak-filled lane in an over sized business suit calling out for our mom. Nope, we have to get out of the backyard and actually do this thing called life. What are you going to decide to do today? What path will you select? Are you taking the Blues Brothers approach and waiting for a sign from God, or are you being faithful in the little things in hopes of gaining the opportunity to be faithful in the Big things?

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