This coming Sunday is Father’s Day, and I would like to encourage all of you dads who are faithfully being a loving father to your children. You couldn’t be doing anything that matters more in this life than what you are doing as a father. I know it gets tough sometimes and it can be complicated, but don’t give up. The rewards of being a good father are many. Here are a few of my reflections:
Being a father is an exciting enterprise in so many ways. This excitement and the challenges begin even before the little one arrives. You wait with your wife for this moment of arrival, not knowing exactly what’s in store. Then, it comes. It is both grueling and painful for your wife and yet exciting to welcome into this world this life that is part you and part her. The first two or three years of a child’s life can be both difficult and rewarding. You watch with rapt amazement as this little child learns to walk, talk, and follow you around. You ask God, “What will this child be one day?” Then you ask God to help you be a worthy example for your son or daughter.
One of the gravest responsibilities of being a father is the day you realize this child is watching you. Once it dawns on you that, in some ways, his future is in your hands, you feel overwhelmed. He watches how you treat his mom and how you honor her. He listens to your conversations with other people. It’s scary when you understand that he is mimicking your words, gestures, attitudes and actions. When you see your weaknesses on display in your child, it’s like having a bucket of cold water thrown in your face. Nothing can bring you to your knees any quicker than thinking that you may have hurt this tender child. So you ask forgiveness from God and your family. No reward, however, can compare to seeing your sons and daughters grow into mature adults. They are controlled, respectful and mature, and you thank God for this amazing transformation.
I look at the three children God gave me, and I say with swelling pride and gratitude, “They are mine.” I now watch with delight as they raise their families, and I am privileged to have four little lives call me “Grandpa.”