I don't think it always has been that way. Maybe so. But the older I get, the more I realize that words are what shaped me...
The ugly and the beautiful. Both.
You can hardly get on social media, turn on the television or walk into any retail store this week with out visiting that relationship with the person that helped with that shaping....
Some of you reading this, post pics of your Father with awesome tag lines on who he is, or who he was and how much he influenced your life. And how could you not? I 100% agree with you.... the significance that a father's role plays in your life strongly comes out later....if you can post those pics when you are in your 30's,40's and 50's, there was something to be said about the love he gave you.
I've read a few articles floating around Facebook on fathers this week. I've read of Dads stepping up to the plate anywhere from changing diapers to playing ball with a kid that wasn't even their own.
In the early stage of our marriage, Tim was in school at Auburn. I walked down to some building on campus that had a large bulletin board full of job offers to students.
I grabbed a number off the board that was advertising a nanny position for three children.
Tim and I headed down together to meet a single mom of three in need of someone to care for her children while she worked full time.
Within about 15mins of conversation, the police showed up with her 7 year old son. He was the cutest little blonde wavy haired little boy. He held a cold, tough look on his face as the police officer brought him to the door way and shared with his mom about the current theft he and his friend just did at a local convenient store.
When the officer left, she looked at us and said.... "meet Scotty..."
And that was Scotty. A seven year old little boy, no bigger then a five year old, desperate for any attention. When Scotty was five years old, he and his older sister found their father hung from a tree. That story didn't come out to us until later. For at that moment in their living room, what seemed like it could be "the worst babysitting job ever", we looked at that mama and told her I would start working the very next day. Don't give me a pat on the back. I was much too young and naive to see this situation to the fullest. At that moment, I saw a tough job but a paycheck. I was raised with four brothers and figured I could handle tough. It was later I saw the situation for what it was.
The next few months were filled with everything you could imagine. Scotty would often call me from school as he didn't "feel well". We attended field trips, did homework with them and would keep them weekends at a time as the Mama went out of town.
Once Scotty called us and told us his mama wouldn't wake up and he had to be at Soccer practice. Upon arriving, we found her passed out drunk on the sofa, naked and with a blanket on top of her that her son provided.
It was only about 6mos, but the impact Tim had on Scotty's life was something I can't even describe. Scotty pushed us away, but at the same time, longed for love from us.
The day we said our good byes before moving to Connecticut was one of the easiest and hardest days ever.
What I mean by that, is that the mom had basically given us her three children over this time period; one of which was only 3 years younger then myself, and I was a baby at a whopping 18 year old. She was newly pregnant, and the once carted weekly modeling appts, soon turned to her OBGYN visits. The mother was never home...Tim and I in our very young newly wed state, needed a break from parenting her children, but at the same time feared leaving them.
Scotty was mad at us, and didn't speak to us or look at us days leading up to that goodbye. His hard heart and cold face turned into smiles and giggles as Tim would play video games with him, hunt for his lost snake that escaped from his tank, and teaching him how to fix things around the house made him feel so special.
As we were leaving their home, Scotty was still locked up in his room, shunning us for leaving him. I remember his mom saying "they're leaving..." and as we were walking out the door, he came out of his room. Just like something you would see in the movies, he embraced me. But what at the time didn't impacted me like it did later, was he embraced Tim...and cried.
I have tears now thinking about that moment. I'm not quite sure Tim even remembers that day. It's possible he doesn't remember how tightly that little boys arms were wrapped around him. Because Tim was just being Tim. But I remember; because that moment has played out multiple times in our marriage as I think about him fathering our own children.
We talk about mothering as being such a selfless act, and no doubt we lay down our own desires and wants everyday. We kind of have too....I mean, a mama just knows and has to do. We carried those babies nine months and felt their every move. They heard our heart beat, knew the sound of our joy, pain, stress and peace. They were born knowing we were for them. That comfort was found in our name. We know when they need changing, we know their feeding schedules.... they can just lay in our arms and feel comfort. We know what makes our teenager tick. We can feel their struggles and we can see their pain. We provide what they need before they ask, and we do it over and over again. It's a natural thing.....
But a dad....well that's something different. Babies know their voice if they were around. They feel their Daddy's comfort on how they made their Mama feel or how many times they were embraced. How they made their "home" feel. Dad's know their children's schedules by learning. They know their pain by asking. They know their character because they helped shape it. They know how their teenager's tick because they were there through the tock. And they know what brings them joy and pain because they were present. They were there.
I guess you can say, in most cases being a mom is natural, but being a dad is intentional.
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
our heavenly Father was intentional. How much more intentional can you be, then for Him to give up His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's what you Dads do when you are intentional. You tell your children you want a relationship with them, and they feel the depth of what that means.
To Intentional Dads-
Thank you for coming home from work and playing with your children. Thank you for changing that diaper, even if it was only one that day. Thank you for waking up during the night to put the paci back in; and for feeding that bottle, for wiping that nose. Thank you for asking hard questions and listening to drama. For saying" you look nice today", or "I like your hair, it's pretty.."; or telling your children you are proud of them. Thank you for whispering in their ear that they are important. Thank you for throwing the baseball and fixing the dryer with them. Thank you for encouraging your children during their triumphs, but especially during their struggles. Thank you for giving them smiles and laughter. Thank your for being silly and playing water balloon fights with them. Thank you for loving other children like your own, and stepping in to the fatherless. Thank you for loving your wives. Thank you for serving others. Thank you for praying for your children, and sharing your struggles with them. Thank you for showing them how God is faithful and how he will always provide. Thank you for making them feel safe and wanted. Thank you for apologizing to them when you mess up. . Thank you for being intentional..... you are demonstrating how to love. They see Jesus in you. They see the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made for them......They do and they will.
Thank you Tim for being you. Your love is felt deeply by many, and it will not stop at this generation. I am so thankful for you.
If you know of an intentional Dad, encourage them; not just this weekend, but always. Their role is bigger then the now..... it will impact generations to come.
Happy Father's Day!