Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Reflections

Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers around the world. Being a father is a job that requires a lot of love, a lot of patience, and most of all a vision for lives that will extend beyond yours to multiple generations. I am a father of a nine-year-old girl, and seeing her progress through the stages of life a step at a time is truly heartwarming. She has a special way of making sure that I do not lose track of her. Today at church she attached herself to my right arm, and velcroed herself to me and just would not let me leve her sight. I am thankful that she wants to stay close to me and her mother at this point in her life. She asks questions about everything from how to do you buy a building to "will God still love me after I am finished being bad?" She makes sure that I have enough for breakfast before I goto work. She makes sure that we pray togaether at night before going to bed. But most of all, she keeps me from being selfish.

As most fathers can attest the pressures of life can be overwhelming. There is pressure to stay ahead at work, save for retirement, and fullfill the American dream. At the same time your child is being influenced by advertisers, parentless kids, and an environment which does not allow for spiritual and emotional growth within a family unit. And sometimes I feel it too. I think that at times we can work too many hours chasing things that have not been in a family's best interest. But, having a child who really wants to emulate your good qualities is a blessing. That's why I try to watch what I do, because any negative influences that I bring on myself will likely affect my family too.

What helped me even more was having a father and two grandfathers to emulate. My father, who passed away in 2001 was from the old-school. He beleived in hard work, discipline, and having good common sense would overwrite anything negative that can happen to you. I tested his patience a lot of times. I ran with the wrong crowd in the neighborhood, and I was influenced to smoke dope. I went over a friend's house and got so high that I had to stumble home. When I got home, I could barely stand up straight. I tried to eat a plate of sphagetti, but I could even eat it, before passing out on the table. My father wanted to know what was wrong, Even though I was afraid of the consequences, I told him what I had done. He fed me coffee and walked around the table, until I straightened up. I was so ashamed of what I had done, I stopped that very night.

He would stand up for his kids no matter what. When I got robbed in fromt of my house as a teenaged paperboy, my father just missed him. If he caught him, he was going to beat him up severely. But when I took his car and drove to Lafayette, Indiana without him knowing it. He said for the first time, he consideed throwing me out of the house because I had disrespected him. Indeed I did.

He had that instinct to tell me what friends would be the best for me, and who wouldn't be. But he always made sure that I knew the consequences of life, right or wrong. But, the thing that encouraged me the most was that he told me that I would be a good father one day. How he could see it from afar, I still to this day have no idea how he thought of that.

But the most amazing thing about him was that God allowed me to learn from him. Learning how to be a good father and a man was priceless. I hope that my daughter can continue to be inspired by me. I am not perfect, but I just want my kids to be influenced the right way rather than the wrong way.

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