Sunday, June 21, 2009

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

I was lucky to have the father I had. I don’t recall him ever giving me advice on any subject other than fishing (and Lord knows, he knew his stuff about that). But the life lessons I learned from him just by observing how he lived his life (especially how he acted toward other people) were priceless.

Those lessons from my father certainly have helped me to be a better father. The best lesson on fatherhood I got from him was to let my children show me how to be their servant. I’m not talking about being a slave, kowtowing to their every whim. I’m talking about being a servant in the best sense of the word: placing the needs of the children before my own.

I’ve met a lot of dads of special-needs kids over the last few years. Some simply don’t want to deal with the fact that raising their children isn’t easy. Others welcome their children’s disabilities, but primarily because it’s a way for them to be the center of attention themselves by shouting to the world that they are superdads. Those two types are the men who would be less-than-ideal as fathers regardless of their kids’ challenges.

On the other hand, I’ve met a lot of fathers who understand that fatherhood requires sacrifice ⎯ of time, of money, and of ego.

Although the challenges are different with every individual child, good fathering (and mothering) is always a function of sacrifice. Happy Father’s Day to all the servant dads out there.

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