Father’s Day. A holiday set aside for honoring, remembering and thanking our fathers. I’ve been a dad myself for a little over 21 years now, so I have some insights and thoughts I’d like to share this Father’s Day.
As a child
After I became a father, I almost immediately gained a new respect for my father, my grandfathers and all other fathers out there. Nobody knows the flaws of parents better than their children. We see our parents in every possible situation. In happiness and sadness, in times of strength and also weakness and, of course, also in times of anger and frustration, to mention a few.
Parenthood gave me an entirely new perspective of my parents. It erased much of the bitterness that I held for punishments and mistakes I felt my parents made with me. I was making many of the same mistakes and some new ones as I struggled to navigate through parenthood. These experiences made it so much easier for me to hug my parents on Mother’s/Father’s Day and say, “Thank you for all you did for me! I love you! I am blessed to have you as my mom/dad!”
As a father
As a father, this day has always made me a bit uncomfortable. I am someone that has difficulty accepting praise, partly because I am acutely aware of my flaws and shortcomings and partly because I don’t feel I need or deserve praise for doing my duty. For me, fatherhood has been an honor, privilege and pleasure, but is is also my solemn duty!
A first-time father
On January 11, 1999, when I looked at my daughter for the first time, something inside me switched on. I’ve been told that mothers have this bonding moment with each child after the birth—I can’t explain it, but mothers will know what I am talking about. I believe that fathers experience something similar-or should! In the months leading up to Abby’s birth, I was a total mess! I knew I could not do this. I wasn’t prepared, was not properly equipped and was just not ready! How could I support a family? What could I teach a girl/boy?
And then it clicked. I saw my baby girl for the first time and I KNEW I was doing this. That switch clicked on and activated Fatherhood 1.0. I was a whole new person! My life was no longer mine to live, I was living for someone else. For me, fatherhood meant that all of my wants, desires, wishes had to take a back seat to the needs of this new life.
An “experienced” father
Throughout the last 21 years, my identity has been defined not just as a man but more importantly as a husband and father. To this means that there are 4 other people’s needs and wants come before mine. Fatherhood has brought me closer to God and strengthened my walk with Him. Drawing closer to my Savior, has taught me and strengthened my resolve todo all I can to provide for my family.
The first thing that most think of is to provide financially and 5at is important, but it’s not the most important provision. Most importantly, I must provide spiritually. This means that each and every day, I must strive to draw closer to Him. It also means that every day I must also strive to become better than I was the day previous—and THIS is the biggest challenge for me as a Father and husband. It is so easy to fall into a routine, to become lax or lazy—and this is where I (we) fail—and I fail often.What
What I need on Father’s Day
I have been a father for 7832 days, and if I have made only ONE mistake a day, that’s still a lot of mistakes. I have had 3 kids for the last 5119 days which further compounds it. While I try not to add up all my failures, I strive to learn from them lest I repeat them. I also know that many of my mistakes are felt most by my children (and I may not even realize I made them).
So, what I feel like need most on Father’s Day is grace rather than praise.