Fearful and Fearless Fathering

19 06 2016

I was privileged to spend a portion of Father’s Day up in Grand Rapids, MI with my oldest son, Jeremy; it was great with just the two of us sharing old times and new. WRock _nhen we parted ways, Jer heading north as I headed back to Indiana my mind returned to the early days of fatherhood having three little people running out to greet me as I got home from work. Then there was playing games, singing songs, acting silly, along with showing new places and things and teaching them as well as I could about life. Then my mind drifted to how insecure I felt in the role of being dad. Yes, it’s great to remember the things you do right, but it’s those nagging thoughts that come to haunt and make you ask did I do more good than harm, are there moments I wish I could do over, and did I do enough to prepare them for the real world when the time came for them to strike out on their own?

Of course I realize what brings on these negative feelings; it was the lack of a father in my own life. As a young child I would question why didn’t I have a dad, and if I did have one where was he? It wasn’t until being nearly grown that I learned the truth; Howard (that was his name) was only interested in having relations with my mom, but not a relationship, and certainly not with a child either. A person would see that as a sad scenario, but by then it really didn’t bother me. Perhaps it’s best described as what an individual would say about not having an arm or other regular parts of the body; it would be nice to have but since you never had an arm it doesn’t bother as much and you learn to make the best without. (That’s a quote by the way from a man born with no arms.) So if the old man didn’t want to be there for me that was fine, could get along very well without him.  At least that’s how I felt up until Dec. 31, 1979, the birth date of our daughter followed in later years by her brothers. Not having a male role model to emulate was now pressing on me as I worried about making mistakes in my new character as dad.

It wasn’t until the Lady of my life pointed to the fact that I had a role model, a Father who was with me always and whether I realized it or not was preparing me for the day little ones would look to me for guidance and love. From my Heavenly Father I learned I needed to be a teacher (Proverbs 22”6) plant in them the important things of life (2Cor. 3:2-3) Show compassion (Psalm 103:13) Pray for my children like David did (1 Chronicles 29:19) and never give up on them, just like the father of the prodigal son didn’t (Luke 15:20-24).

Perhaps I didn’t have an earthly father to show me the ropes, but I have to be thankful for him giving me life, that I may learn from my Heavenly Father. “Hey Howie, whether you know it not, ya did good; you ought to see your awesome grand and great grandkids!!”

So did I do things right? Yes. Did I make mistakes? You betcha!! Would I want to do things over? And take a chance of missing the good that came out of the bad; no way!

Without a doubt being a father isn’t easy, but is anything that’s worthwhile having that way? Think about what God has to put up with as Dad to all of us; Whoa! But isn’t it great to know that He loves each of us as if we’re His one and only, and that love doesn’t end; how cool is that?

I’m not perfect and frankly neither are my kids, but at least I’ve had a good example to pass on to them, a Father who leads me as I “Travel the Rock Road.”

“Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.”
He said, “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then.
It’s a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen.”

See ya next time.




One response

20 06 2016
Beverly Crane

Wow…..so heart warming. I am forwarding this article for sure. I have never met you John but I read your words and know Cathy has a wonderful man in her life. God bless you.

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