A while back, I was getting re-acquainted with a young coach who had recently married. I said something about how great it would be to have children of his own. He barked back that “there’d be no kids.”
I was stunned. I stammered something forgettable and our conversation quickly ended. We’ve not spoken since, as he’s pointedly avoided me. Such hurt in his heart.
I understand that not everyone wants to be a parent but encountering it with someone I knew was hard to accept
. For me, being a dad is one of the best things of my life. From the times our daughter and two sons were small, I’ve absolutely thrilled at interacting with them. Seeing their amazement upon their discovery of living things, their affection for their pets, the revelation of God in their lives, and watching them enter adulthood has brought a sense of wonder to my own life. Sure, we’ve had conflicts, disappointments, and have hurt each other at times. (Thankfully, their mom helped me be a more sensitive—listening—dad.) The joys of seeing them overcome obstacles and then cheering their successes can’t be measured.
No doubt, I revel in being a dad because I know the pain of not having a father. I know what I’ve meant to my kids because they have me. Sixty-one years ago today, we buried my dad. The lives of my mom, my two brothers and I changed forever. God prepared me through my loss to contribute to the lives of our own offspring. My memories of life without my father caused me to be even more diligent and deliberate in being a dad to Allison, Loren, and Ethan.
As I get older, I realize I’ve lost sight of many aspects of being young. Fatherhood has brought me back to many of the simple pleasures I had forgotten. Likewise, nothing touches my heart like seeing a young child or adolescent hurting, without a mom or dad to love them.
Every time we close a phone call or bid them good-bye, I tell my kids I love them. Then I get a hug and that same affirmation. Such a blessing.
I imagine how pleased our Heavenly Father is as we, his children, try to please him, as we honor others, and show the love of the Father to others.
What’s been your greatest joy in being a dad?