Guest Post by my brilliant brother---I love you, Butch! Happy Father's Day!
I come from a long line of fathers. It’s a legacy I hope to pass on to my son one day. Some of the dads in my line were spectacular. Some were not. All were inescapably human and imperfect.
I never knew most of the dads, just my own. The others were long dead and buried before I came along.
I have no delusions about my own father. My dad is not perfect. He never will be. But he’s my dad, and I love him. He’s made his fair share of mistakes, sure. But he’s my dad, and I love him. There were times when he was wonderful and times he was not what I hoped. But he’s my dad, and I love him. There are many, many areas where we do not see eye to eye. Perhaps we never will. But he’s my dad, and I love him.
A few years ago, my dad passed the mantel of dad-hood on to my brother and I as each of us had our first sons. My eldest is almost four years old. He is old enough to begin to see that sometimes his dad is not perfect. But he loves me, I’m his dad. As the years go by and he grows into the man I hope and pray he becomes, he will undoubtedly see that I am not the idyllic, perfect, blameless paragon of virtue and true manhood that he seems to think I am now. He will see that I have a temper, that I can sometimes be lazy, and that sometimes I do not live the principles I believe and espouse. Then, he will have a choice: to accept or reject. To love and forgive, or to become embittered, angry, and distant.
I chose wrong. For many years, I did not love my father as I ought. Now, as a dad and a husband, I see things a little differently. And while my new found understanding, gained through my own parental experience, does not excuse his mistakes, I understand now that if I am to love him, I must accept him as the Dad he is, not the Dad I once wished he was. Because the longer I am a father, the more I realize that this dream-dad does not exist. There is no perfect father, except God. We’ve all got our warts.
On this Father’s day, I think about my son and my daughters. I can imagine them in twenty years as men and women. As a dad and moms, God willing. And I pray that they will extend to me the grace, mercy, and love that I have often withheld from my own dad.
Fathers, love your children the best you can, and always strive to love them more and better. Children, honor your father, and love him. Not because he is perfect. But because he is your dad.
"And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction."(Mal 4:6)
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."(Eph 6:1-4)