Updated: May 15, 2020
"The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him." ~ Proverbs 20:7 (NKJV)
Those of us who are crazy blessed with extraordinary fathers are faced with a special challenge come Father's Day. I mean really, what words could possibly do justice to and properly honor the realities of fatherhood done well?
When you have a great man for a father, a simple “Happy Father’s Day!’ or “#1 Dad” just won’t do.
What would most people agree makes a great father?
A great father is in awe as he holds his tiny child in his hands and reels at the responsibility of crafting a human of whom he will be button-burstingly proud innumerable times over the years.
He helps you up and dusts you off when you have fallen. When the hard knocks come, he soothes just enough so that you know he loves you, but little enough so you will also learn that while life will knock you down, you have the inner strength and fortitude to get up all by yourself and carry on.
A great Dad will endure the heartache required to mete out discipline to their child, knowing that the willingness to do so now will allow for untold and immeasurable rewards all the days of their life.
He will demonstrate herculean restraint and hold his tongue as he watches his children make mistake after mistake, allowing them to face the consequences so they may learn that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” and it’s not always pleasant.
An award-winning father will listen. When his child has joys or accomplishments to share, is struggling with a decision, facing new (or tired old) difficulties in life, he will hear them out with a generous heart and give a lovingly supportive open minded but appropriately critical response. He will play the devil’s advocate when necessary but be a stalwart support when their whole world seems about to crumble.
A dad is an educator. He does his utmost to instill in his child a love of learning, of knowledge, and of truth. He endeavors to teach his child how to learn, not simply memorize… though he does that too. (I’m having flashbacks of multiplication tables!)
A great father knows that his children are not merely copies of himself. He knows that they must walk their own path of discovery and development, but along the way and before they get too far down the road, he will instill in them a sense of right and wrong, a hard-work ethic, and a need to stand for justice, integrity, honor, diligence, excellence, and compassion.
He invests time in his children teaching them everything from how to cast a smooth line to reel in the big fish, to how to carve a perfect turn on a double black diamond run (one he tricked you into descending at the age of five because he knew you could do it even if you didn’t.)
He’ll teach you how NOT to put your club down in the sand trap. If you do, it’s a penalty stroke in tournament play and try as he might to get it into your thick skull, you wind up with the extra stroke anyway; at which point he will chuckle, shake his head, encourage you to chin up, and tell you to fight through to the end, having your back and sherpa-ing your clubs all the way.
He will do all of this and SO MUCH more.
A great father is loyal to his family in ways for which there are simply no words. If you know, you know, that’s all there is to it.
He wants you to be your very best you, even if it isn’t exactly what he had in mind in those early fatherhood dreams. If you are authentic and honest, tried and true, he’ll be proud of you even when you’re up to your eyeballs in the muck and mire because life has suddenly landed you splat on your face. Even then he’ll say, “I’m not worried about you, you’ll get through this just fine and when you come out the other side, you’ll show the world what you’re made of and astonish them all.”
A great father loves his children and his wife unconditionally. (Lest we forget Mom… she of course does all of these things as well, but today is Father’s Day and our hero du jour is Daddy. Although we know how much she does and fully acknowledge her part of the process, each one a support to the other as they tag-team efforts in the cultivation of a dynamic, loving, grounded, truly good human; this acknowledgment is for THE WORLD’S GREATEST DAD.)
A great father does all of this and more, even when he has a severe case of I-don’t-wannas.
All of these things I know because I was given a great father.
Love you Dad, more than words could ever say.
P.S. While this was clearly a moment for me to acknowledge my own earthly father... if the very best of human fathers can be so extraordinary, imagine how awesome is the love and support and care and guardianship of our Heavenly Father. Know He loves you beyond the bounds of imagination. Know He is there for you. Our Heavenly Father does all of the above, and more far above and beyond.
Father, I pray we would all reach for You as You would have us do. I pray we would know and hear Your voice. Thank You, for giving us the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the will to walk in Your way, always. Amen.
"These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (BSB)
"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." ~ Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
"'As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him." ~ Psalm 103:13 (CSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥