Yesterday was Father’s Day. My wonderful kids honored me with many kind words and some treats. (Taylor: love the Reeses!) Father’s day is very humbling to me. I am well aware of all of my faults and shortcomings. I wouldn’t call myself a great father or sometimes even a good one.
In the last 18 years (Didn’t become Taylor and Sierra’s father until 11 years ago), there has been too much work and too little play. There have been too many missed moments and events. Too much criticizm and too little encouragement. It’s only by the grace of God that our kids overcome our many faults. We don’t always set the best example and our kids often suffer because of it. Looking back on my fatherhood, I realize that I often worked too hard and too much. When it was just Abby and me, I often worked 60+ hours a week. Time at home wasn’t spent relaxing but doing work of a different kind–remodeling and landscaping. Since gaining two more daughters, it has been much of the same. More work than play–all too often allowing financial worries to lead me to more work and darker moods.
I am sure that many of us fathers feel the same way. We look back and see so many things we missed. Things we’d like to do differently. However, despite our many shortcomings our kids seem to flourish and overcome so much. It doesn’t come without help though. The Lord plays a huge role in it. He knows that we’re going to fall–and fail. Thankfully, He’s right there beside us to pick us up–and our kids. I have never been a great student of the Bible. I have read it several times and know it to be our guiding truth. Admittedly, my prayer life hasn’t always been what it needs to be. I often struggle to give my life over to God and let him show me where to go or what to do.
This is where my kids have lifted me up. They have strong prayer lives and have helped me to become a better man, husband and father through their prayers. Where I have been weak, they have been strong. Because of them, I have learned to be more patient. More forgiving. Less harsh. As my kids are approaching and entering adulthood, I believe that they will continue to have an impact in who I am and become. Like my father before me, I know that I will learn as much from my kids’ life experiences as my own.
I have never been big on looking at things I would go back to change. Anything that I might or could change in the past would alter who I, or my kids, am and become. The journey isn’t always about doing things perfectly or the right way, but learning from our mistakes. When we fail, the Lord will send people in our lives to pick us back up. He’ll always be beside us, in front of us, or behind us helping us find the way–if we only ask him. So, on Father’s Day, I don’t look at so much on how great a father I’ve been but how I can learn from my mistakes and be the father my kids need me to be. I look to my heavenly Father to show me how to become the father He intends me to become.