Well in respect to Father's Day yesterday I thought I would say a few words.
I don't know how many times Mark or I have heard from parents whose children are grown up and have left home (especially dad's) saying how they have regretted not spending more time with their children in their younger years. It's so easy to let life pass us by being busy with 'things' and before we know it those 'moments' with our children are lost forever. Don't get me wrong, there are still moments, even when children are grown, but I'm talking about those moments that will forever shape and be etched in our children's memories. The times spent together talking, training, teaching, mentoring, playing, reading, helping and so on.
I was reflecting on my childhood and what I remembered of my dad. And I came to the conclusion that it wasn't the long hard hours he worked for us or the things that he bought for me, but it was those special moments that him and I spent together.
I remember sitting on the couch beside him and watching football. I had no interest whatsoever in football at first, but I would sit there for hours just to be close to him. We wouldn't say much except for the occasional explanation of a play.
Another thing I loved to do was go trucking with him. When I was around 4 years old he drove milk truck and later on a gravel truck. I remember the fun I had going with him. My dad is a man of few words, so we didn't 'talk' a lot, but he showed me his love by taking the time to have a child tag along.
I remember his patience in me 'styling' his hair!! I would spend hours wetting, combing, wetting, styling, combing out knots.... Now it seems like a dumb thing, but to me then, it was big stuff and he let me do it!
I remember hanging around him when he was fixing a vehicle. This is when I was older, probably 14 or so. He would take the time to tell me the names of the tools and the parts of a vehicle. He taught me how to drive a standard, patiently as I stalled it a few times. We laughed!!!
I rolled 2 cars (yes, count them, I did say 2) before I was 18. He never got mad at me (even though I am sure he was quite frustrated) but instead he told me, "I don't care about the car, as long as you are alright". I remember feeling really loved at that moment because he had every right to get upset at me. And you know, he has never mentioned it since, the only time we have talked about it is when I bring it up.
He has an amazing heart for worship and I still love to watch him in a church service worshipping the Lord. We have often laughed about how 'off tune' he is but it doesn't matter, because his heart is worshipping.
So as I was thinking of all these things I realized they didn't cost him a dime (except maybe the wrecked cars), it was time, patience, love, training, teaching, these are the fond memories I have and they are the things that have formed me into part of who I am today.
So I guess I want to encourage all of us as parents. Time goes so fast, take advantage of every moment you have with your children to be who God has called you to be to them.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from Deut. 6:5-7 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk about them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise up."
Many times we 'teach' our children by our actions more than our words. What they see in you, they will usually adopt as part of who they are. What do your children see in you, what message are you sending to them. Do they know that they are more important to you than your work and all the 'stuff' that you have? What kind of memories will your children have of you when they are grown and have left home. What kind of memories will you have of the time spent with them. I hope we can see in things in hindsight and not regret the time lost with our children but instead feel satisfied in the time we invested into their little lives.
Be encouraged Dads. God has chosen you for this amazing opportunity to mentor one on one the little ones he has lent you for
'such a time as this'.
Me and My Dad