After Sunday worship, my husband’s Father’s Day celebration started with a phone call from daughter #1, then a steak dinner with potato salad and coconut cream pie. During lunch, we made the snap decision to visit daughter #2 in Champaign where she treated us to dinner at one of the best Mexican restaurants east of the Mississippi where we ate ourselves silly. We stayed overnight, helped her transport two big purchases back to her house, drank coffee together, and did lots of talking. When we got home, we had – you guessed it – leftover steak and coconut cream pie.
Over the weekend, I overheard the girls and their dad reminisce over those things Daddys do – teaching them how to ride a bike, how to haggle with a car salesman, what is an Allen wrench, how to choose friends and how to hang in there and be your own person, the person God wants you to be when the world tries to woo you to hang with the popular crowd.
Today, our daughters are grown women, both within a year of completing graduate work. They’re making their own adult choices, traveling more than Mom and Dad want to know about, and are developing strong and lasting friends with people they would have never dreamed ten years ago could be their friends. Both their Dad and I are proud of the women they have become.
Fatherhood can be tough. The business world wants our guys to think they need to put the job first. Television sitcoms wants to make Dads look like they’re clueless and don’t have anything to offer their families. The encouragement and handouts to single moms give the unspoken message that Dad, you’re not needed, with a little help from the government, we can get along without you.
As we sat down to our dinner of steak leftovers, we reviewed those precious memories of what our girls had shared with us about special moments with Dad, what he had taught them, what, as their parents we wished we could have done differently or more of. “Based on what your girls have told you, what message would you give younger dads?” I asked him.
His answer came quickly and unequivocally. “It’s worth it.”
Dads, if you’re struggling to be the kind of father the Lord wants you to be, it’s worth it. You keep teaching those life skills – because it’s worth it. You keep encouraging your kids to follow Jesus instead of the crowd – because it’s worth it. You keep encouraging and insisting your kids help mow the lawn, change a tire, look up on the Internet how to do bike repair, and develop a world view from God’s perspective instead of what the news media wants them to believe – because it’s worth it.
I imagine most of those reading this blog are women. If you have any influence over a man with children in the home, please use these words to encourage your guy. Let him know often he’s doing a good job and what he is doing is worth it.
It’s worth the effort he puts into being a Dad and teaching all those Dad things. Someday, those kids are going to grow up and he’ll see them using those life skills he taught and exemplified. Someday they’ll say something like, “I didn’t understand what you were saying at the time and I didn’t like, but now I see what you were trying to tell me.” Words worth the wait and efforts. Fatherhood – godly fatherhood – is worth it.
Besides, he just might get double helpings of steak and coconut cream pie on Father’s Day.