What it Really Takes to be a Good Dad

My husband is a phenomenal human being. That is not an exaggeration. It is, in fact, an inadequate description. He’s not perfect, none of us are. But when he makes mistakes he will not only apologize but brainstorm about how to avoid them in the future. When I met him, he was beaten down about a failed marriage and stressed about the best course of action most beneficial to his kids. Repeatedly he took the road of significant heartache in order to do right by his sons.

In the past 20 years, I have stood mesmerized by his love and lack of retaliation. He never harped on what others said to his kids about him or their judgment. I, however, am not that mature. I’ve committed seven hundred different kinds of sins trying to defend him and provide what he longed for. Bad idea. As sin always does it bred more sin.

In one heated exchange with a person, I said, “I don’t need my husband to take up for me.” The response was, “Because your husband can’t.” At that moment it became a funny sadness. Our world wants us to believe retaliation, anger, and even violence is how to solve problems. It’s how we demonstrate our strength right? Wrong! There is no strength, love, or integrity found in allowing our emotions to dictate our actions.
True strength is found in restraint. When you sacrifice your desires and emotions to better your child, you hit a pinnacle of parenting seldom achieved. True, love is buried in sacrifice. We must be willing to not only hurt for our kids but allow them their missteps. That is the epitome of my husband.

He loves his kids enough to not force his will upon them. He lovingly allows them space to grow, respects their decisions even if he disagrees, and knows, under God’s watchful eye, he has trained them up in the way they should go so they will not stray from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Kids cannot cope with the world if they have not learned how to grow from mistakes and overcome loss. It’s a heart-piercing truth my husband knows well. And one I am trying to achieve.

On this Father’s Day, as in all others, I celebrate my husband and his ability to put himself on the emotional cross for his boys. Outsiders may see his lack of helicopter parenting as standoffish, or uncaring. Nothing could be further from the truth.

He falls to his knees multiple times a day trusting God to mold him into the father his kids need.  Some may perceive him as weak for following the God he is sold out to. And that’s okay with him. He will forever be the parent God wants him to be and reject the misconstrued parenting of the world. Why? Because he loves his children more than himself. My prayer is that someday I will be half the parent he is today.

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