On Being a Dad . . .

It’s Father’s Day.

I know taking a day to recognize fathers may not bring up the best sentiments or memories for people. Whenever I hear of someone who didn’t, or currently doesn’t, have a good relationship with their father it’s hard. It’s also a shame because a healthy father/child relationship is the best. Please know that I genuinely ache when I hear someone hasn’t had a healthy relationship with their father. I know a multitude of reasons, decisions, and actions can be the cause for this to occur. I don’t dare to try to comprehend what this has meant to people.

What I would like to share though is something more encouraging and positive. I’ve been very fortunate to have had two dads in my life. My biological dad was wonderful but I only knew him for the first four years of my life because he passed away when he was 24 years old. My second dad entered my life when I was at the challenging age of 13. He was wonderful since the time he married my mom and was for 44 years until he passed in 2020.

I have been a father for 30+ years now and I’m genuinely more grateful and excited now to have this opportunity than when it first occurred. My two kids are becoming fascinating adults and I’m grateful they want both myself and my wife in their lives. I don’t take it for granted because I don’t want to miss a moment of the adventures they’re taking.

I grew up around a dad who was always present. It was such a powerful image and model when I experienced his support, encouragement, discipline, advice, and direction just by having him in the activities I was involved in. His visibility spoke louder than any feedback or critique I’d receive. I would look out into the audience or stands just to make sure he was there. I’ve followed that model and have done all I can to be present for both of my kids when they were young and even more so now that they’re out on their own.

When I look at the time I’ve been a dad, my kids and I have surely had ups, downs, challenges, arguments, and times to ask each other for forgiveness. I’ve tried to be a dad who doesn’t put on airs, or show a different face at work, home, or in the community. I’ve wanted my kids to see the power of being humble, honest, fun, and vulnerable. Each day I know I’m going to be watched for how I talk, treat others, and react in various situations.

If I could share a list of what I hope they get from me being their dad, it would be this:

I want them to know that I am a man of faith who believes in the best of others.

I want them to know that people are worth my time, attention, and empathy.

I want them to know I will fail. When I do, I want them to see how I face failure and work through it.

More than anything, I want them to know how grateful I am to be their dad. My life wouldn’t be nearly as full without them.

I want them to know I will be there for them regardless of what life brings. They have my love forever.

I love being a dad. It’s the greatest job I will ever get to do !!