This past weekend I got into a discussion with two guys and I asked them, “Are you guys close to your Dads?” One of the guys responded, “We are now” He went on, “My father and I never had a relationship until I was about 23 and when we were on a trip together, he told me he wanted to start over with a clean slate and that he had made some mistakes as a father. At first it was akward but by the end of the trip, we started to become close.”
The other guy answered, “Growing up I hated my father. My pastor finally told me that I would never have a good relationship with God until I settled matters with my earthly father. ” He continued, “I was so angry to hear that since I planned on working in the church, but I went and talked to my father and now we have a good relationship.”
When it was my turn to answer my own question, I responded with, “Yes, my Dad and I are pretty close, but we weren’t at all when I was growing up.”
The guy that told me that he hated his father growing up said that with his son he has “Daddy Days”. These are days that just he and his son go off without “mommy” and they spend all day together, just the two of them. He said when they first started going on these little day trips, that his son didn’t want to go, he was too attached to his mother, but now he loves to be with just his Dad.
Our discussion continued and all three of us began to wonder if our fathers had raised us hoping to be better fathers than their fathers, or if they just did the best they could and hoped we turned out okay. As men do we sometimes think we have done enough for our families and our children just by providing and putting food on the table? If we have stayed faithful to our wives and played catch a few times and told a few bedtime stories – isn’t that enough?
The idea of parenting doesn’t scare some people, but it scares me. I know that if I become a parent I have the opportunity to shape tomorrow. I could parent the next Mother Teresa, or the next Hitler. My child could find a cure for AIDS, or he could become a terrorist – a lot of that depends on me.
As men I think it is our responsibility to make sure that our sons and daughters grow up to be secure in who they are, to help them to understand that the world is cruel, but at the end of the day it isn’t just mom that they can come to, but that Dad is there too. Dad isn’t just the guy who brings home the bacon, he is also the guy who is understanding and is willing to listen before judging. He sets boundaries without being abusive. He solves problems instead of harping about them.
A lot of cool Dad’s read my website and I have been inspired by you guys. Keep on lovin’ on your babies. Support their dreams. Encourage them, spend time with them, they are your greatest investment.