Sunday was a great day. It was my 3rd Father’s Day with my boy Finley, three weeks out from the arrival of our new boy James and yet another day for me to grow into the dad I want to be. Of course, I gave my own dad a quick call to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and to thank him for being a great father. After I hung up the phone and started the short drive home from a Safeway run (picking up some must haves for my 37-week-pregnant wife) I found myself in full reflection mode. A random, hodgepodge of thoughts raced through my head:
“Man, I love that old guy. Why did I get so lucky? Lord, keep him around for a while would you? I remember when I used to think I knew more than him (high school Vince)…that jerk just cut me off…Love is patient, love is kind…God, thank you for using him to teach me and shape me into the man I am today…I remember when…”
I’d like to share with you just a few of the lessons from my dad, about what I’m thankful for and that encourage me today as a father:
- MY DAD WAS PRESENT. My brother and I had a busy schedule: Soccer, baseball, tennis, taekwondo, mathletes, geography bees, graduations, swimming, football, basketball…you name it, we did it! My dad also had a busy schedule: work, home projects, husbanding (not a real word). Yet somehow he was almost always there. When he couldn’t physically make it, he’d be present once he saw me next. “How’d it go” he ask, “Did you have fun?”. It’s carried into the present. “How are you? How’s the church going? The family?” These are not remarkable questions, but his consistency in just being there for me very much is.
- MY DAD WANTED MY MOM TO FLOURISH. At times my folks argued, they cried, they had all the stuff all marriages have, but I always seemed to know my dad wanted to see my mom flourish and to experience what made her, her. This one is a big one for me! Fathers, help create an environment where your wife will flourish and where she can grow in herself. If she wants to go out, spend time with friends, go to a bible study, or just get a break from life, do whatever it takes to get her there. She is not the babysitter and she’s certainly not your servant. Modeling this Christ-like love for your wife will not only bring great joy to your home now but it will bless your kids for years to come.
- MY DAD SAID SORRY. Most of the time he didn’t have to (usually because I was being a stubborn, adolescent bonehead) but when it was needed…well, he did. What this modeled for me easily remains one of the most helpful life lessons: not one of us is perfect and we all make mistakes. It helped pave the road that the Spirit traveled when he saved my heart. Dads, we’re going to make mistakes trying to raise our kiddos right; always apologize when you need to.
Ultimately, God, our heavenly father, must be our hope and the one we strive to be like. I often ask myself, “How does God treat me?” and attempt to do the same with my boy. I also encourage you to remember that the entire bible is the story of a father’s pursuit of his children and creation. Therefore, whenever we read scripture we can learn more about how to be better husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, children, etc. I also want to specifically address those who read about what I learned from my earthly father but don’t share in that experience. Take heart knowing that in all the areas that our earthly fathers can and may fail us, our heavenly one never will. He is with you always, loves you perfectly and has and will always do what will cause your greatest good…even when you don’t realize it. But isn’t that what being a kid is all about? Happy Father’s Day and God bless!