The Experience of Fatherhood

When I used to think of what it meant to be a father, I looked back at my own childhood experience with my dad. The simple things he did for me and my siblings meant so much to us. The way he used to place his hand on top of our heads in public was a gesture that said that we belonged to him—that he was our father and we were his kids. I remember being lifted high in the air and then playfully being thrown down on our parents’ king size bed and then wanting my dad to do it over and over again. I even remember the time that my father was a chaperone on a youth field trip. He had never done that before. He was inexperienced at watching and controlling kids, but he was there trying his best to be a good dad. It was the simple things he did that meant so much.

Sadly, my father died when I was fourteen years old, but I’m glad that I had the time with him that I did have. He was not a perfect man—he was not all the father he could have been—but he was my dad—the only Earthly father I will ever have and I appreciate that I got to know him. It was far more than what he received from his own dad who he never really knew.

Now that I am a father of two daughters myself, I realize how impactful my relationship with them will be for the rest of their lives. If I do a good job—my daughters will remember. If I do a poor job—it will certainly stay with them through their adulthood. I have a major responsibility to get this “father thing” right for their sake.

I keep remembering that it was the simple things that my father did that have lasted in my memory. For my daughters, I plan to do those types of activities. Taking them to the park, teaching them how to ride a bike, eating lunch with them at their school—simple things that don’t cost money—they just cost us time. Just being there for your children is the most important thing you can do. It’s not just about providing financially for them—it’s about being there emotionally.

There are so many dads who have done an exceptional job with their children. On this Father’s Day, be sure to complement the men you know who have taken their role as a father seriously. It is sure that the influence that men have had in the lives of their sons and daughters has ultimately contributed to the success their children have enjoyed. Conversely, not having the guidance of a father could have negative effects that last a lifetime. Get involved or stay involved in the lives of your children. Their long term success could depend on it. Remember, you are the only Earthly dad your children will ever have. If you are not yet a father, when your time comes, be committed to being the best dad that you can. Look to the example of our heavenly Father who is always there when we need Him. He comforts, provides, guides, chastises and directs us. He has given us the example of the perfect Father. Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere and to all men who have taken the time to influence a young person’s life!