I’m sitting here at the park and watching the boys play. They’re playing together for once, and they aren’t fighting. It’s been a pretty good day so far.
I’m thinking that they’re growing up so fast, it’s like a soft rope, slipping through my fingers. I wonder what kind of example I’ve been as a man? As a father? What kind of example will I continue to be?
I think of the example of my own father, who was close to the age I was when I got married and started my family. It wasn’t necessarily bad, I just think that people of his generation were different than they are now. And then he died when I was still young, just 16.
I think I learned more about manhood from my brothers-in-law than I did from my father. Mainly because I spent so much more time with them. Especially my sister Lee Ann’s husband, Phil.
I don’t think I ever thanked him, or my sisters, for being there for me when I was young. They saved my life in so many ways. They taught me how to treat women, and how to be emotionally available. Phil gave me most of my sense of humor. He also taught me how to relate to people in a way that puts them at ease, using the aforementioned sense of humor, mostly. And he taught me how to be a husband.
I’m hoping to give that to my boys. To show them how women should be treated. To be good and godly men, and husbands.
I think I do that by loving their mother, and letting them see. If that embarrasses them sometimes, I can live with that.
They also need to see me love God, and show them what he can do in a life–the changes that can bring. I learned that part from several Godly men and fathers who came into my life every now and then, always right when I needed them.
They made me realize how important it is to set an example.
It isn’t easy, and I probably should not expect it to be. Nothing good is.
So I will continue to love their mother, who is truly my better half, and the love of my life.
I will let God be my father, and example. I will love Him through the hard, and the ugly.
I will let him love me.
Brennan Manning said something once, to the effect that when our time comes, Jesus will ask us one question: did you believe that I loved you?
That may be the most important thing I can teach my kids.
God loves them. And when they believe that in their hearts, their lives will change forever.