[Updated from the archives.]
Doyin Richards was on paternity leave when his wife was rushing off to work and fretted about not having time to do their daughter’s hair. He told her to leave it to him, and decided her skepticism required some photographic evidence of his capability.
The picture went viral.
In a follow-up article at the Huffington Post, Richards wrote:
This story shouldn’t be about placing me on the Mount Rushmore of fathers because of a photo. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s an adorable shot and I’m extremely flattered by the kind words I’ve received from people who think so — but I’ve shared hundreds of pictures of my family on social media and none of them received a fraction of the attention that this one did. Just like the other photos of me with my girls, it’s simply another example of a dad … well, “Daddying.” Additionally, I’m concerned that the bar for being a good dad is set so low that a dude can take a photo with his kids, post it online, and automatically become the “world’s greatest dad” in the eyes of some because of it. (Doyin Richards, When the Story Isn’t the Story.)
That quote reminds me of the way I did it when my kids were young. I’d get to the office early in order to be home for dinner every night. Evening meetings or trips out of town were few and far between. I may have been an anomaly at the office, but my kids didn’t think I was one when I was with them.
For any moms and dads who may be reading this, take it from me: brushing your kids’ hair is a great way to get to know them more, just like sitting down to dinner together or making time to play their make-believe games with them.
Parents knowing the children well is a godly thing.
The Father Who Knows Every Hair On Every Kid’s Head
The article not only reminded me of how I tried to make time with my kids a priority, but also of another Father who knows every hair there ever was. As Jesus assured his followers:
… even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30.)
Now I did a lot of brushing and combing of my kids’ hair over the years, but I never once came close to being able to say I knew how many hairs they had. Yet God knows every single hair on every single one of our heads.
Our heavenly Father knows us better than we know our own children, even better than we know our own selves.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139:1-4.)
For some people that is a comforting truth, and for others it is a horrifying thought. This dad takes comfort in it. You?