Fatherhood is an awesome responsibility. I became a father in August of 2007 with the birth of my daughter, Ashtyn Ann. She was born at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. Before we got cleared to leave the hospital, we were required to watch a video. It is intended to give you a crash course on how to care for this new human being you are now responsible for. Once you leave, there are no doctors or nurses by your side to guide you.
For me, the video did not fulfill its intended purpose. It invoked fears of inadequacy and lack of preparedness for this awesome responsibility, fatherhood.
The vision for this blog is to inspire a generation of community leaders to make the turn from ordinary to extraordinary. Leaders at the community level wield the greatest ability and awesome responsibility to positively influence Main Street America. It has blown me away to hear from people all over the country following this blog on how a particular message impacted them.
I will let you in on a little secret though. While I want to positively influence your world, there are two particular worlds I write this for, Ashtyn’s and Grant’s. If everyone unsubscribed tomorrow and the social media following went to zero, there would still be www.leadershipandmain.org. The messages contained there will give them a glimpse into the life lessons that so many people have poured into my life, a solid framework on how to serve their community, but most of all a glimpse into the heart of their father.
As we celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, we typically focus on honoring our fathers or that individual who stood in that gap for you. I could write a whole series of blogs on my father and the positive impact he has had in my life, but today I wanted to write from a little different perspective. A perspective as a father. A message directed to my children.
Here are eight simple and special messages written directly for them and a special conclusion that applies to us all:
I See More In You Than You See In Yourself
This is what a father does. I believe in you. You may have a vision for your future, but I can see further. I can see your potential, your possibilities, and your gifts. I see more in you than you could ever see in yourself.
I Am Your Biggest Fan
Whatever you do, wherever you go, I will be your biggest fan. You want to go to college? You want to go to trade school? You want to play sports? You want to travel the world? Go for it. I will cheer you on. Just do not expect me to pay for your travels! Get a job.
When You Fall, I Will Help You Up
I cannot promise to always catch you when you fall. I may not be there when it happens. I can promise to always help you dust yourself off and get back up again. The fall hurts, but getting back up builds resilience. You do not build resilience on your feet.
Do Not Confuse Discipline For Punishment
Punishment tears you down. My words in a moment of anger can do that. When I discipline you, I am doing it right. It just may not feel that way in the moment. Discipline shapes us. It is a healthy and necessary process. It is like an artist who gradually and slowly molds the clay on the pottery wheel into the final product. It becomes a masterpiece. Just like you will be.
I Would Lay Down My Life For You
I would take a bullet for you, sacrifice myself for you, stand in the gap for you, and take on any burden you may carry. I would trade me for you. Without a doubt, seven days a week and twice on Sunday. You are greater than me. I am less than you.
I Will Fail You
I can guarantee this, at some point I will fail you. I will fall short as a father. I will lose focus, lack the energy, not prioritize, be harsh, and set a poor example. Know that I tried. Dads are perfectly imperfect.
Fatherhood Is An Awesome Responsibility
It is challenging and at moments exhausting. Both of you can wear me out sometimes! More than you, it is the struggle of the balance of being a disciplinarian and nurturer. Balancing demands of being a provider and spending quality time with you. Fatherhood is an awesome responsibility that I take great pride in.
I Love You
Unconditionally, without a doubt. There is nothing you can do to take this feeling away. Amid any disappointment, struggles, stumbles, or distance I will always love you.
Now, for everyone. Before we wrap up, I do not want to sell the final point short and the true meaning of love. Love is a word that has a lot of different meanings to people with different depths of it. The greatest definition of love comes from the New Testament in Corinthians thirteen, verses four through seven. If you are not a person of faith, hang in there. This is relevant to anyone, I promise. The verses read:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I read a book called Classic Christianity, by Bob George. The author takes the reader through an exercise that has had a big impact on my life. In the Christian faith, God is Love. Christians are called to live a life that looks like God. With that being the case, replace love in the verses above with your first name and re-read it. So how are you doing? I hope you got a better grade than I did!
As community leaders we are called to use our influence to better others and the world we live in. Whether you are an educator, elected official, public servant, small business owner, a pastor, a volunteer or whatever role you serve in, love. A little love goes a long way in bettering any world. Our worlds could use more of it.
For all of the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day. Do not forget, fatherhood is an awesome responsibility. Be awesome at it!
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
In your world are you patient? Kind? Envious? Boastful? Arrogant? Rude? Set in your ways? Irritable? Resentful? Rejoicing in other’s wrong doings? Do you bear the burdens of others? Do you have hope? Is the love you have for others unconditional?