My whole life, parents, religious education teachers, and priests told me that God was a loving Father. As a teen and college-aged kid, I assumed that I knew what that meant. Parents have lots of rules. They don’t understand why you do what you do. They make you do chores. They constantly give you advice you don’t need. Parents are people who spoil the fun and treat you like a baby, even when you’re clearly a mature, rational, practically perfect adult.
It took having kids of my own to realize what God means when he says he’s a loving father. I’m an incredibly imperfect parent. Still, I can look at my children and understand a smidgen of what it must mean to be the Perfect Parent.