Proud Children

We are not commending ourselves to you again, but we are providing you with an occasion and incentive to be [rightfully] proud of us.  II Corinthians 5:12 

We are to provide our children the opportunity to be “rightfully” proud of us.

It is not by our power, our good looks, or even because we hold the title of father that our children can be proud of us.  It is by our ability to be a good father.

Fathers need to be present.  They need to be available when times are hard, when things get out of control.  When there is no one who cares there should always be a father.  I remember when I left home to go into the military.  The bus left my home town in the very wee hours of the morning.  Because of the early hour I said my goodbyes to my friends and family the night before I left.  I got on the bus and sat by the window and stared out into the dark of the night that is so different in a very small town.  As the bus pulled away it passed the sidewalk that ran in front of the station.  There on the corner was my dad.  He stood solidly and said nothing, he just let his presence, and support, be known.

Fathers need to have fun.  We don’t need to be so serious about ourselves.  Well placed and appropriate humor can be the best medicine when everything is dark and our children are pulled down by the world.  A smile, a joke, a dance, underscored by a compassionate spirit will heal lives for generations to come.

Fathers need to be strong and not harsh.  Discipline, appropriately applied, is necessary for the growth of a healthy child, but a strong spirit connects with the spirit of a child, no matter how old they are.  There is nothing more blessed than the reassuring touch of a fathers hand when the world is closing in.

Fathers listen.  They listen to their children, to their wives, to the great God in Heaven as he leads us in our daily walk.  Listening is the greatest tool we have.  Great fathers are great listeners.  Our problem, too often, is we tend to want to talk and worry about how to fix things; we want to show our children, and our wives, that we understand and have a solution if they would just listen.  Since they won’t, we think we should share our solutions anyway.  We think about how we are going to answer the next question while they are still explaining their situation.  Listen intently, you will find that is often all anyone wanted from you in the first place.

Fathers are teachers.  As I have said many times before, everything we do is under the gaze of our children.  We are teachers even when we don’t choose to be.  That is the reason we teach our children so many bad habits.  If you don’t think this is true, just think of the last time you found yourself using a favored term your father used, i.e.; “Because I said so, that’s why”, or “keep crying and I will give you something to cry about”, or “you better get it done before I come up there”, etc.  You learned very well.  Some of those things you learned from your father he hoped you would never use, but you do.  Be aware of the great power you possess as a father.  You are constantly teaching your children and sometimes others who may be in a position to see you.  One of the real problems is when we become what we want to become, a good father, other children want to be around us.  When this happens we come under an even greater responsibility, the influence of others.  Our steps must be careful for we often have the power of life and death in our hands and too many times we are fully unaware of it.

I hope these words are helpful to someone.  I made so many mistakes over my years as a father.  If only I had learned to be present, to have fun, to be strong, to listen and to be aware of my role as a teacher, I would have avoided so much pain. 

Be wise fathers, we will continue to learn and to teach until the day we leave this earth.  Don’t try to do it on your own.  Find a good father and talk to them.  Of course, you can always reply on this blog and I will offer an ear or a word when it is appropriate.

En servicio como padre



2 Responses to “Proud Children”

  1. 1 Charles Arcario May 5, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Perfectly said…can you imagine what our kids would be like if more of us got together and strategically raised them? It is too great a challenge to do this alone. I will look to your site as a resource in the future.


  2. 2 David May 5, 2007 at 3:14 PM

    Thank you for your words of support. I think society has dictated that fathers show weakness when they admit they don’t have all the answers. There may be room in this world for a group of strategic fathers who attempt to make a difference in society through the influence of fatherhood.


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