by Alan Stewart
During a recent little league game in which my son was playing, I made an interesting observation. When a child got a hit or made a catch, for the most part it was the women who were cheering in the crowd. I was amazed that most men sat there silently. However, when I began to take serious notice of this seemingly odd behavior, I found the men were cheering as well—but you had to know where and how to spot it.
The fathers spoke and cheered with their eyes. Admittedly, men are the weaker sex when it comes to effective communication. Yet, when it comes to their children, men possess a marvelous means of communication through their eyes that children long to read. I saw it in the eyes of my father, and today I pass my heart along to my children through my eyes.
While men have been able to hide their emotions through a rough exterior, there is something about our children that melt even the thickest of ice sculpture interiors. When it comes to his children, a man cannot keep his emotions away from his eyes. I wonder how captivated Adam's heart was to see a miniature version of himself? Who could imagine the sparkle in Abraham's eyes to finally see his promised son?
A father's heart may hold many a secret, but his eyes are a window into his private world of emotions. A man may try to hide his inner thoughts, but his eyes will always give him away. They confess his pride, expose his lust, reveal his greed, offer his disappointment, and display his affection. In fact, a man's eyes cast a reflection of who he really is inside. A father's eyes hold much mystery and meaning worth pondering.
In Luke 15, when the prodigal son had wandered off and made a mess of his life, you can only imagine his embarrassment as he came home with his tail tucked between his legs. However, an interesting sight greeted him, "...when he was a great way off, his father saw him..." The word "saw" carries a greater idea than to just look at. It meant he gazed with wide-open eyes as if at something remarkable.
In his father's eyes the son found someone who still believed in him and could only see the best in his son. Fathers can be guilty of trying to live their lives again through their children simply because they see the potential but forget to let it come naturally. However, if a father would hope to foster and encourage the potential of his children's lives, in his eyes they should find a kaleidoscope of hopes and dreams for his children. What made heroes of faith out of many characters in Scripture was the fact they dared to get close enough to a heavenly Father's eyes and discovered things about themselves that only He knew!
In Judges 13, long before Samson was born, his father Manoah went before the Lord and implored: "...teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born." Before he ever saw his son, he saw the Lord! The secret to leading our children to success in life is we must go before them and get there first. I wonder what impact it would have on our world today if when our children looked into our eyes they saw captured images of the Lord? Therein lies the difference between a father of worth and a father of value. A father of worth is only concerned about creating an image in the eyes of his children that they can never live up to. A father of value sets a standard, but with his eyes he leads the way for his children to go and achieve beyond his legacy.
In Genesis 27, we find a scene that has been replayed in many homes throughout the centuries. Esau looks into the dimly-lit eyes of his father and with bitter tears he cries, "...bless me, even me also, O my father...hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" More than our possessions and our pull in life, our children desperately are crying out for the acceptance, affirmation, and affection of a father. Whether it be a sporting event, a dance recital, or a church play, watch the eyes of the children scanning the audience for eyes filled with approval.
There is a verse in Psalm 32:8 that has brought great encouragement to my life; "...I will guide thee with mine eye." Any hope that I carry of being a good father is contingent on this verse in my life. It says to me that I must first get close enough to discern His eyes, but also that I must trust what I see. A father's eyes are only as good as what they are filled with. Oh, that my children might find eyes in me worthy to be looked into.