Father’s Day brings back many good memories
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.”
June 20, 2006
June 18th has been set aside as Father’s Day. With my children grown, married, living in other states, with families of their own, I have an unusual gift this year. They will all be at my house this year! Hooray! (Can you tell I am excited about it?) I am ready for them. Now, you have a few days to get ready for your own celebration of Father’s Day.
There are many lessons the Lord has taught me in my years of learning how to be a “Dad.” Any man can become a father, but it takes a lot of love, patience and work to earn the title of “Dad.” Let me offer two thoughts – one for new, younger fathers and one for older, “more experienced” fathers.
YOUNGER FATHERS, let me encourage you to build memories with your children. Work at establishing traditions. These can be traditions of wonder (like at Christmas) or they can be a tradition of fun!
The recreational activity with my boys largely centered around fishing, because it was something we all could do together. But, loading and unloading the boat, rigging hooks, bait and cleaning fish – all in the name of “fun” – is just a lot of work when you have small children.
My wife is a registered nurse and nutrition is a big item on her list of how to grow kids. She reminds me of Daniel 1:12-15 wherein the diet should consist only of pure water and vegetables. With this backdrop, you can understand that her idea of snacks on a fishing expedition include celery sticks and cheese. I had other ideas.
When the boys and I stopped to gas up the boat and get some ice, we picked up our own snacks. They were definitely contraband in our house and we had to eat these on the boat allowing no evidence to remain. Our tradition became a package of Hostess Twinkies and a quart of chocolate milk … each! It was fun.
Last year I was visiting my sons in Florida and they took me fishing. It was a much different experience. All I did was get in the vehicle. The boys put together the whole fishing trip. My oldest son, Matthew, went in to pay for the gas and came out with ice and a paper bag he put in my lap. When I opened it and looked in, it was filled with quarts of chocolate milk and Twinkies. I almost cried. My strategy for building a memory with them – no matter how small – worked!
Dads, work at building memories with your children. With my daughter, we tried to do “dates.” Sometimes it was simply a one-on-one breakfast at a restaurant before school.
For EXPERIENCED FATHERS, there are different thoughts I’d share. These are ones I am still learning and trying to apply. First, be quick to admit mistakes. We all make them and grown children recognize them too. So, clear the air and relationship and admit failures. Secondly, it is hard to move from giving instruction to only offering counsel when asked. (I’m still working on this one.) I believe this is a necessary part of building solid relationships with your adult children. But keep building the memories! It is the door that keeps your relationship and influence alive.
Children and grandchildren are a gift from God. Cherish these gifts and handle them as the gift they are (Psalm 127:3).
The responsibility of growing and instructing your children and grandchildren belong to you, not the government. Whatever you do, don’t dump your kids off at a school and expect them to grown them up. It’s not biblical. You are responsible for your children.
Finally, it is hard to let go of your children. But we are supposed to. We are told that they are arrows in our quiver (Psalm 127:3-5). Arrows must be released if they are to do what they are created to do. But it is hard.
Last October, I walked my daughter down a church aisle and gave her to a young man as his bride. Let me tell you what that is like. It is like taking a precious family heirloom that you have carefully and proudly displayed in your home, a rare thing of beauty and delicacy … like a crystal goblet. Walking her down that aisle was like taking that heirloom and handing it to a gorilla! It’s a terrible thing for a Dad to do … but a necessary thing to do. A man gave me his treasure one day, about 36 years ago. It is a hard thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. Prov 20:7 (NKJV)
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4 (NIV)