I had a wonderful Father's Day this year. My oldest son came to church with us and then my oldest daughter and her boyfriend came and spent the day together with me. It was wonderful to have everyone together and it made me begin to think about how over the years I have changed as a father.
According to http://www.merriam-webster.com/ : the definition of a father is: a man who has begotten a child. I think it's much more than that
I was thrust into fatherhood at 19 years old. My girlfriend was pregnant and she already had a 2 year old daughter. I did what any respectful man would do. I quit college, married her, and went to work to support my new family. I never had a handbook of how to be a father, so I resorted to doing what I had learned from my fathers.
1. My dad and my stepdad both worked hard to provide for their families. I never heard either of them complain and they often took on extra responsibilities just to provide a little more for us.
2. I always knew that my dad and stepdad loved me. They never really said it, but I just knew it. Their actions showed me their love everyday. Affection was implied, not expressed.
At 19 years old, I found a job in a factory and began bringing home enough money for our new family. I worked long hours and would sign up for any overtime I could so that I could provide additional for my family. I mean, that's one of a fathers duties right? When it was offered that my employer would reimburse for college classes I returned to college. It took several years, many days without sleep, and many missed events with my children, but I finished my degree while working. I was trying to provide more for my family and I felt was my responsibility as a father.
I don't ever remember telling my children that I loved them, I followed the rule I had learned and felt that it was implied by all that I did for them.
Fast forward to today.
I have learned that my role as a father is much different that I originally thought. I am blessed with the chance to learn from my mistakes and I have another shot at this father role. While I still feel that providing for my family is a important role, I know that me spending time with them is just as important. I know that a crucial role that I play is teaching my children how to interact with others by example. As fathers, we are teaching our sons how to treat women and our daughters how they should expect to be treated. I don't believe that it's enough to imply your feelings anymore, I tell all of my children that I love them everyday. It is my responsibility to teach my children about The Lord and give them a solid spiritual base to build upon.
I believe that my most important role as a father is teaching my sons how to be great fathers.