Adventures in Fatherhood

A Devotional


By Holland Webb

By Carlton Hughes

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Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.

Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.

  • Devotions written specifically for dads
  • Rugged, durable package
  • Perfect size for coat pocket or briefcase
  • Presentation page for personalization
  • Ribbon marker
  • A great gift for Father’s Day, dad’s birthday, or Christmas


As Different as Night and Day

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.


A well-meaning relative asked my two-year-old son, Noah, “How is your baby brother?” His reply was short and to the point.

“He cries and cries and cries.”

My wife and I thought we had the parenting thing down—the first child was so easy. Noah rarely cried and was content to sit on the floor with a pile of books and simple toys, entertaining himself for hours.

Friends tried to warn us: “Wait until you get a second one, it will be so much different than the first!” We dismissed them. How different could another kid be? The joke was clearly on us.

Our second child entered the world three weeks early through a storm of complications and did not breathe on his own at first. The doctor told me Ethan would remain on oxygen for a few hours, but he did not know my little fighter.

My baby boy stayed on the oxygen for half an hour, at which time the nurse said, “Come and get him!” Once he started crying, he hardly stopped for a couple years. Emerging from the long colicky stage, Ethan proved to be our strong-willed child. Stubborn as could be, he was the aggressor in any type of play, and it was not a wise idea to try to take a toy away from him. Noah continued to love books and reading, while Ethan could not sit still long enough to fool with a book.

Through the years, I have learned to appreciate the differences in my boys, who share the same looks but not much else. I am an only child, so my children are my frame of reference for the uniqueness of siblings within the same family.

Like the snowflakes and autumn leaves fashioned by the Creator’s hands to be special, each person is unique by design, and I can appreciate the contrasting traits in my sons, knowing they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Noah is crafted in the image of God to carry out an ordained purpose only he can fulfill, and it is the same with Ethan. If we were all the same, life would be boring, so God spiced things up.


Father, remind me everyone is carefully made in Your image and help me appreciate the differences.

The Botched Execution of the Treasonous Boy

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.


Grandmother!” John-Paul’s eyes were wide. “It’s Geoffrey! Get the scissors! Hurry!”

My mother rushed to the backyard. My eldest son, Geoffrey, hung from the top of the swing set with a rope around his neck. He grasped his Davy Crockett musket in one hand and clawed at the strand around his neck with the other. The swing bent under his weight as he danced on tiptoe, trying to get free.

I wasn’t home, but you can imagine the fear that twisted my gut when I heard about the close call. I had almost lost my son.

“Why,” I asked Geoffrey, “did you hang yourself?”

“I was pretending I was British.”


“I was being hung for high treason against the Crown. Only I couldn’t get the rope off, and I almost got hanged for real.”

I wondered again how any of us with a Y chromosome lives to grow up.

I think Geoffrey’s role-play incident shaved five years off my life. Being a dad is hard, even harder when you never had anyone to show you how. What do you do when you are faced with the unexpected, dangerous, or downright weird? I couldn’t call my dad for advice. Maybe you can’t either.

But we can call on God.

This is not God’s first parenting rodeo. He is full of wisdom and delights in sharing it with His sons who are trying to be dads. Whether your child is in danger by doing something as nutty as playing make-believe with a real noose or as risky as drugs or crime, God knows how to respond.

Need wisdom for being a father today? Ask God for it. And keep a sharp pair of scissors handy to cut down any treasonous children from their homemade gallows.


Father, remind me that Your wisdom is infinitely greater than mine as I seek to be a good father today.

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


Noah was two and a half when Ethan was born. He had been the “king”—not only our first child but the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Suddenly he had to share the spotlight with this new addition, and that was not always easy.

When Ethan was a few months old, he and Noah were playing on the floor. Noah took a toy away from baby brother, and predictably, Ethan pitched a big fit. It was a milestone—their first sibling fight. It was before the days of social media, so I apologize for not having a meme or photo to commemorate the event.

“Give the toy back to Ethan and say you’re sorry,” my wife Kathy instructed Noah.

With shades of things to come, Noah threw the toy at Ethan’s feet and, in the most sarcastic voice possible, said “Sorry, sorry, sorry!”

Not exactly what Kathy had in mind. I fought back laughter as she chastised Noah, who was not used to sharing his toys.

We used the situation to talk about asking for forgiveness. God’s Word tells us our repentance must be true repentance, not just lip service or an act. If we come to the Lord with a repentant, sincere heart, He is faithful and just to forgive us. When we apologize to someone, we must be genuine about it.

Forgiveness seems like a simple thing, but many people cannot understand it. Instead, we hold grudges for years or believe the lie that we cannot be forgiven. In God’s economy, however, a sincere “I’m sorry” works, even for brothers.

I would love to say the toy escapade was the last incident of fighting, sarcasm, and subsequent forgiveness between my sons, but I would not want to lie in an inspirational book.


Father, help me to be quick to forgive others and to be sincere when I need to apologize.

The Copperhead and the King

The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”


Someone killed our neighborhood black snake, which was a shame. Black snakes aren’t my best friends, but they do keep other vermin in check. Our black snake’s death left the local copperhead population unpatrolled.

Now, in case you aren’t from the South, let me explain that, while a copperhead’s venomous bite isn’t likely to leave an adult with a toe tag, it could kill a child. Copperheads are pretty aggressive, too, as snakes go.

One afternoon, my mother went outside to check on my seven- and eight-year-old boys. Seeing the youngest reach for something on the ground, she yelled, “Don’t touch that snake!”

He straightened up. “I was just gonna brush the leaves off its back.”

The rest of us looked at those copperheads as enemies to be driven away. John-Paul saw only a creature in need of comfort.

What do you see when you look in the face of your angry, defiant, or rebellious child? A child’s rebellion can cross a threshold you hadn’t dreamed existed. That tiny, wide-eyed darling you’d die for can change in an instant into a sullen, angry, or even violent person who insists on being your enemy. Suddenly, you’re sharing a house with someone whose tongue is bitter, whose venom is deadly, and who strikes without warning.

King David’s son Absalom had laid plans to wrest the kingdom away from his father through violence. Yet when David heard of his son’s death, he mourned for his boy. What does God see when He looks at you and me? A son who laid plans against him? A boy who went his own way? Romans 5:8 NKJV says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Look at your rebellious son or daughter with the eyes of your heavenly Father. Can you see a creature in need of comfort? Will you reach out to brush the leaves off your rebellious child’s back, even if you know they’ll strike you for it?


Father, give me Your eyes to see my rebellious child as You see him/her, as a creature in need of Your comfort.

Let Me Tell You Something

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.


One Christmas, years ago, when my sons were very young, all Ethan wanted was a football. He was barely old enough to talk, but, for several months, each night after I had tucked the boys into bed and said prayers with them, Ethan would motion to me. I would lean down next to him, and he would say, “Let me tell you something—I want a football!” His big brother Noah rested in the bed next to Ethan’s, seemingly unaffected by little brother’s request.

One weekend a few weeks before Christmas, we were enjoying an overnight visit with my parents, and my father joined me for the boys’ bedtime ritual. It was the usual pattern—we tucked them in and said their prayers. As I reached to turn off the light, Ethan motioned for my dad to come close.

“Pop, let me tell you something—”

Four-year-old Noah had evidently had all he could take, so he interrupted. “We know! We know! You want a football! You’ve told us a thousand times!”

Night after night, Ethan had made his request, determined to get a football no matter how many times he had to ask, but Noah, frustrated with the whole routine, had heard enough.

I am glad God doesn’t get tired of my requests. He doesn’t get frustrated and tell me to shut up. Instead, He encourages me to keep asking, to keep seeking, and to keep knocking until He answers. When I tell Him my wants and needs, I’m keeping open the line of communication between the two of us, and that is vital to my growth as a Christian.

For the record, Ethan received three footballs that Christmas, more proof that it pays to ask.


Father, since You never tire of me asking, let me tell You something today…

Adventures in Linguistics

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.


We moved to Guatemala when the boys were eight and nine years old. “The people in Guatemala don’t speak the same language we do,” I repeated 10,372 times before we left. “They speak Spanish.”

I didn’t realize it, but both boys thought I meant everyone in Guatemala spoke Spanish along with English. They were about to find out differently. On our first full day in Guatemala, I took the boys on a tour of our new town. We stopped for lunch at Pollo Campero, a Guatemalan fried-chicken chain that is to die for.

“Do they have chicken nuggets?” my oldest son asked.

“I can’t tell.” My Spanish didn’t extend that far.

“Ask the waitress,” he said.

“You ask.”

My son looked our Guatemalan server straight in the eye, and in his broad Southern accent said, “Do y’all have chicken nuggets or just chicken strips?”

When the waitress stared at him, my son looked at me quizzically.

“She didn’t understand you,” I said. “She speaks only Spanish.”

The look on his face said he’d finally realized what it meant to live in a country where you can’t communicate in English.

Personally, I’m fluent in sarcasm. My kids don’t understand that any better than our Guatemalan waitress understood Southern American English. But it doesn’t stop me from believing that somehow a bitter tongue will produce a sweet fruit.

It won’t.

The Bible has a lot to say about our language, much more than “don’t cuss” and “don’t lie.” Scripture encourages us to build each other up, to speak life-giving words that bring healing to the weak and turn away the wrath of the strong. Are you up for learning a new language?


On Sale
Apr 7, 2020
Page Count
144 pages
Ellie Claire Gifts

Holland Webb

Holland Webb

About the Author

Holland Webb is a full-time dad and freelance writer living in Simpsonville, SC. In March 2004, he received the life-changing phone call that he would be adopting two boys, ages three and four. He’s had several more life-changing phone calls since that day-from the principal, the children’s pastor, and the Highway Patrol. As a professional, Holland enjoys working with clients who are leaders in the online retail, higher education, and faith-based sectors. He has written for brands such as U.S. News & World Report, iLendX, Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, MediaFusion, Modkat, Sweet Fish Media, IMPACT Water, and Mindsets.

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Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes

About the Author

Carlton Hughes has spent hours and hours chasing his two sons through the cross-country courses and tennis complexes of Eastern Kentucky. He has fixed boo-boos, carpooled numerous kids, and weathered trials with his now-college-age boys, who both had a knack for volunteering their dad for everything. Carlton has been a professor of communication and journalism at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College for nearly 30 years and the children’s pastor at Lynch Church of God for 17 years. In both cases, he often serves as “surrogate father” to those in need of a positive male influence.

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