I’d like to take the opportunity to give a belated shout-out to all the fathers out there. I will say from personal experience that it’s hard (and yet quite rewarding) work being a dad. I know that I haven’t done everything right in my role as a dad – and neither has anyone else. I hope that the other dads out there put in the effort to be the best dad that they can. We are called to be gentlemen, warriors, and spiritual leaders. It takes two parents to raise children, and neither role can be diminished in the least. Being a dad is one of the most important jobs that anyone can have. It’s right up there with being a mom!
At this point, I’ve been a dad for ten and a half years. I’m much better at it now than I was at first. One of my co-workers recently became a dad. This was his first Father’s Day. Early on, when he complained about the midnight feedings and diaper changes, I told him that this was the easiest he would have it. I told him that the journey from infancy to adulthood only got harder and harder as a parent. BUT… A big BUT, it will be worth it!
Now that the kiddo is ten, parenting is WAY more of a challenge than ever before. But, he’s so much more fun now! On Saturday, we rode a bunch of roller coasters together. He goes shooting with me, and he can clean his own rifle after our outings! He’s capable of making some complicated decisions on his own at this point. Ten is such a funny age. I hate the word ‘tween,’ but I do understand the sentiment. He’s caught in the limbo between being a little child and being a budding adult. His good decisions are getting more frequent and more predictable. That only makes it that much more frustrating when he does something childish!
On Friday afternoon, the three of us went to the gun range. He is usually so responsible with a firearm, but not on Friday. I had to repeatedly remind him to keep his trigger finger in check. When he emptied his magazine, he didn’t bother to pull it out and lock the action back. He proceeded to sweep the entire range on his way back from the firing line. Needless to say, I was furious! I was not too hard on him, though. I took his rifle from him, cleared it, put it away, and told him what he had done wrong. He knew. That’s all I had to do. He said he was sorry. I told him that I was glad that his irresponsible behavior had not led to anyone being shot. I told him that I knew he would do better on the next range trip.
It was my fault, though. He is ten. I’m his dad. It is my responsibility to be the range safety officer when he’s at the firing line. He’s always so good with the gun that I got sloppy on the one occasion that he happened to be off his game. That just serves as a reminder that I can’t slack off, and I can’t get lazy. Like teaching a kid to ride a bike, you often have to hang on to that seat even when it feels like they are balancing it on their own. He’s turning into a great man, but he’s not riding the bike on his own quite yet. There are times to allow a child to fail because of their own poor choices, but never with a firearm, and I know this. Still, at some point, you have to let go of the bike and let them ride it on their own.
In six years, he’ll be driving. In eight years, he will be a legal adult. If I do my job right, he’ll be a mental and emotional adult. I’m always shocked at how many people never actually make it that far. But, the kiddo has a great mom, and I hope that he’s got a great dad! That’s my goal – my most important job right now.
To all the gentlemen that are fathers of children – Keep the faith and run hard! Play hard and guide and mold those children. Chivalry is not dead and respect is not archaic. Love your kids, and keep them going straight. More than anything, love the kids third best. Love God first, love their mom second best, and make them a very close third. I believe that many mistakes are forgivable and easily surmountable. Follow the simple guidelines above and you will be a successful dad. Good luck and God bless!
To all the gentlemen that are fathers of adults – thank you. The job is not in the least an easy one, but thanks for sticking with it. Your job has contributed to all of us!