missions ministry on the side, and regularly sharing his time and insight within our church and the community at large - he has been an incredibly involved dad from the very beginning...in too many ways to delineate.
I've never expected him to be involved in the girls' formal academic studies; I've always happily taken that on as part of my role on our family "team." But because he's a lifelong learner himself and loves the girls so much, he's wanted to participate in their educational endeavors. When they were first learning to read, he patiently listened each evening as one or the other read him a story from the day's lesson. And when they gained fluency and started doing readers' workshop, he actively participated in discussions about the projects they shared. He also taught art on a regular basis for quite some time and wants to join us for the weekly chemistry lessons we'll soon start. In addition, he has read aloud to them each evening nearly every night of their lives; even now, though they are teens, he still does it because we both know how incredibly valuable reading aloud is at all ages, both relationally and cognitively.
Yet because he's usually too hard on himself, he's always felt that what he does "isn't enough." And especially since he stopped teaching art, he's wanted to do "something" in terms of direct instruction. I've continued to remind him that it's not necessary, but the other day we were all talking about this and mutually decided that - in addition to the informal discipling he does daily by virtue of his relationship with them - he will now take on the material the girls will use to earn one or more credits in "Bible."
Tonight was their first official "Bible lesson" toward that end - using UnveilingGLORY's Year 1: Cat and Dog Theology material. They'll aim to work on this twice a week, and I know it's going to be a wonderful fit. Honestly, the girls adore their dad, so they simply enjoy spending time with him regardless of the activity. But he is such a gifted teacher - he instinctively knows how to engage a learner - that he'll undoubtedly "hook" them with the material, too. In fact, he was told that a class he teaches at work on the history of cheese-making (!) was "the most interesting" class one woman had taken in 15 years at the company! And he's regularly asked where he went to seminary, though he "only" has a bachelor's degree...and from a secular college at that.
I could join in, of course. But - as with the art lessons and read-aloud time - I've decided to let it be his special time with his girls. And I just feel incredibly blessed because my husband is right there with me when it comes to what has always been my bottom-line heart's desire for my children - what I want for them at root regardless of any other particulars in their lives. Namely, that each of them will "love the Lord [her] God with all [her] heart and with all [her] soul and with all [her] strength and with all [her] mind." (Luke 10.27)