We were all sitting around last week talking about our dads and how, growing up, we all loved and respected our dads but never wanted to cross the line with them. None of us feared our dads; rather we all shared the feeling that if someone was going to be disappointed in us, we wanted it to be our moms, who were likely quicker to forgive and less intimidating.
Most of us are young dads now ourselves. Without exception, we failed to understand just how much our fathers loved us, that is until we became fathers ourselves.
It got us to thinking whether our kids consider crossing the line with us as a major error in judgment, or do they know that nothing means more to us than how they turn out? Do they know we generally consider them great people, and just want them to avoid the mistakes we made and achieve greatness?
These are humbling questions to ponder because there’s really no way of keeping score to know if you’re doing things right or wrong when it comes to fathering. A friend put it best: “I just hope I can be half the father my dad was to me.”
My dad was a great teacher, not so much in the words he shared, but the way he lived. I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t remember a lot of the conservations we had growing up, but I know he was a beacon of honesty to me, an example of hard work, someone who lived by his principles, and who loved my mom with the purest of intentions.
He was an example of how a man should live. He knew what his responsibilities were and he lived them. I never thought about it then but realize now the example he set all those times where we came in late at night, and us kids went off to bed while he went about doing the chores, unloading the trailer, and taking care of the horses.
I’ve had a lot of heroes, coaches and mentors, but my dad’s example was the aspiration, and he is the standard, I have strived to live up to. On this Father’s Day, I hope you’ll take the time to tell your dad thanks, and dedicate yourself to living up to his example. Thanks, dad, and happy Father’s Day!