They say nothing can really prepare you to be a father. I’ve made a lot of mistakes as a dad. I’m selfish when I shouldn’t be. I don’t spend enough time with my kids. I don’t show them the grace they deserve. My temper wins more often than not and shouting ensues. I can’t fix anything without cussing, so I just hire it done. I worry a lot that my kids will make the same mistakes I do. My problems will become their problems.
Most days I don’t feel like I’m a good father. I often wonder what my kids will think of me when they are my age. Will they look back and think I was a good dad? Will they see my glaring flaws?
I think of my dad and I wonder if he is a perfect father or if he has the same fears I do. To this day he is selfless when it comes to his sons (and really most people). He’ll drop whatever he’s doing for us. He shows grace even when we don’t deserve it. I can’t ever remember him yelling at us as kids. He does cuss a lot when fixing things (it’s genetic!), but he actually manages to fix whatever the problem is.
I know my dad isn’t perfect because he’s human, but I don’t remember him being anything but patient, loving, and available when we were kids. I know he probably feels like he spent too much time working and not enough with us, because that’s how all hard-working dads feel, but I don’t remember that. I remember a dad who would take time after work, when he was exhausted, to play baseball in the back yard. I remember a dad who had to go work one Christmas morning after we opened presents. I know now that would break my heart as a father, but as a kid I don’t remember feeling abandoned. I learned being a dad means you work hard and you sacrifice for your family.
They say nothing can really prepare you to be a father, but they are wrong. Our fathers prepare us to be fathers. Some of us have great fathers, and some the opposite. Mine prepared me to be great. I didn’t learn all the lessons well, but I also have the rest of my life to be a father so there’s time to catch up. Maybe my kids will see me the same way I see my dad. Someday.