Sunday, June 17, 2012
Two Qualities of a Great Dad
Fatherhood has been a blessing to me. The joy of being the most significant influence (along with Susan) in the lives of three people. Sometimes we ask ourselves, "What are we doing to our kids today that they will unload to their counselor in 10 years?!" I'm sure there is some of that. But mostly, I think we've done a decent job, and I'm grateful for the honor of having three great kids. They have mostly made parenting easy.
My Dad set such a great example of what it means to be a great father for me. When my parents divorced when I was 9, Dad remained a central part of our lives. He picked us up every weekend and every Wednesday evening. In a day and time long before joint custody and when the kids usually went with Mom in the divorce and saw Dad every other weekend, we had a very unusual situation. Dad called frequently and NEVER missed a weekend with us. NEVER.
Dad drove a 1963 Corvette - a 2 seater - and often picked all 3 of us (me, Jeremy and Jason) up in it. This was before seatbelt laws, but it was still quite dangerous, looking back. We'd pile in - and on - each other, all glad to be with Dad once again.**
Dad taught me - through his actions - that there were two things really great fathers give to their kids: Time and Affirming Words. Not stuff. Not money. Parents think they have to buy everything for their kids. Kids will ask for everything, too. My Dad did spoil us a little. But mostly, he invested heavily in time. He gave us all the time he had, and I know now that it was a great sacrifice. As I grew into an adult, Dad has learned to also give me words of affirmation. For a boy - and a man - there are few things more valuable than to hear your Dad say, "I'm proud of you". My Dad taught me that.
I hope I give to my kids the time and affirmation that my Dad has given to me. He remains a great Dad, and I want to be a great Dad, too.
Finally, Susan gave me a really cool gift for Father's day - The Book of Legends. Legends from the Talmud and Midrash. You might recognize this if you read Mark Batterson's The Circle Maker because this is where he learned about Honi the Circle Maker. I can't wait to read some of this book!
You know, a great dad is also a Legend. We may never make it into a 'book of legends', but to our kids, the Legend of a Great Dad is very real and very influential. That's one of my greatest aspirations.
**My Mom was great, by the way, and we loved being with her, too. I'm simply saying that I learned how to be a good Dad from my father.