Today is Father’s Day.
The further down the road of being a dad that I get, the more I realize how difficult it can be.
I’ve fallen prey to wanting to be a great dad – whatever that means. Trying to be a great dad isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, It’s such a moving target, and it feels like it entails doing so many things well, that the goal of ‘great dad’ becomes an exercise in futility.
Every time I lose my temper. Not a great dad.
Every time I decide to hole up in my room to watch sports instead of play a board game with the kids. Not a great dad.
Every time I get snippety with my wife and don’t provide a perfect example of what a husband should be. Not a great dad.
So many other things. Promising to teach the kids how to fish and not getting around to it. Feeling like I didn’t take them out and teach them how to play this that or the other sport… not a great dad.
And those are the obvious things. Some day, I’ll have to share with them stuff from my past because their present will need me to ‘fess up and share so they know I understand. They’ll realize their dad hasn’t always been so great.
I’m a fallible human just like all the other humans that are out there.
I’m not great. The goal to be a great dad is a dumb goal. Heck, as I heard this week at a church event, telling your kids you want to be a great dad just puts pressure on them to be great – whatever that means for them.
I’m cashing in the goal.
I don’t want to be a great dad. I can’t. I don’t even know what that means anymore and my kids are only 11 and 9. Goodness knows I won’t know what a great dad needs to be when they’re 16 and 14.
What do I want to be instead?
I want to be a loving dad.
Whether they make the grade or not, I want them to know that they’re loved. Whether they respect me or disrespect me (I’m assuming all kids have their moments), I need them to know that they won’t throw me off and that I love them.
Whether they go off the deep end in ways I don’t want to think about, they need to know that I love them. They can always come back to the shallow end.
I pray that their lives and my life aligns and we grow closer the older we all get, but I also know there is the possibility that there might be hiccups along the way. When those hiccups happen, I want them to know they’re loved no matter what.
I won’t withhold.
I won’t hold out.
I will love them.
That doesn’t mean I’ll enable, give them what they shouldn’t be given even if they tell me I’m not loving them when I hold out.
My goal… at the end, whether they liked it in the moment or not, they’ll know that I loved them.
That’s what I want to be.
Not a great dad but a loving dad.
An imperfect, fallible, guy with a checkered past that was at the very least, a loving dad.