I don’t invest much time reading magazines, certainly not as much time as I should. But I have read Marvin Olasky’s interview with singer, songwriter, and author Michael Card. I’ve read the interview at least three times because there is one segment of the interview that haunts me, warns me, and motivates me as a father.
At one point in the interview Card is asked about his song, “Underneath the Door.” I was not familiar with the song so I went online and found this video:
In the interview Olasky asks Card about this song:
Marvin Olasky: You mentioned somewhere that as a small boy you saw very little of your father. He came home from practice, closed himself in his study, and you would push drawings and other things under his door to try to get his attention. Did it work?
Michael Card: No, it didn’t, actually. I wrote a song called ‘Underneath the Door.’ I grew up eating supper at 8 o’clock because my mom would wait for my dad. In those days when the father would come home the kids would come to the door and greet him. My kids don’t do that with me; they just sort of look up from their video games and say, ‘Oh, you’re home.’
MO: You were the designated dad-bringer.
MC: My family would always send me to go get my dad, and I had to get his attention somehow, because he was locked away in his study. But he was a phenomenal person, my father. The older I get the more I appreciate him. He was a good man.
MO: That sounds frustrating.
MC: It was frustrating. One of my major themes is that you are not your gift, and my father thought he was his gift. He thought that medicine was all he was, so when he was forced to retire he died a few months later. He could not imagine living without being a doctor.
Card’s song and this interview haunt me as a father. They cause me to rethink my own parenting. I don’t have an office door, but are there ways in which my children are locked out of my life? Am I accessible to them? Do I assume that my gifts and calling are more important than the time I spend with my children? In the time I spend with my kids, am I focused on them, am I listening, am I entering their world or do I require them to enter into my world? Do my children get my attention easily? Do they get my full attention? Can I unhitch my mind from all my other duties when I am with them? Do I think of myself as a child of God ultimately or do I think of my value in terms of my gifts and calling and output? All important questions that this interview raises in my own mind.