Grateful Dad

June 3, 2011

     While we were fortunate to have Joshua home from his overseas service to our country these past two weeks, Sam has been working his way through basic training at Fort Leonard Wood. Parents watching their children grow to be men and women often experience self doubts. Did I teach them enough? Should I have been stricter? More lenient? Banned television and internet from the house?
     They were already forbidden to date until they had at least a master's degree (I'm not sure that's working so well).
     These moments pass as we continue to offer the best of ourselves to our children, hoping the seeds planted grow in God's time. A couple of weeks ago I cried briefly during my graduation speech noting that neither of the older boys could attend while serving. Believing these young men learned that service to humanity in whatever ways we are capable of is more important than self.
      Today I received this in the mail from Sam, and while the card itself is wonderful, his handwritten words bring tears of joy:
Silver Beach, 2000

"To the Best Father in the world:
I saw this card and knowing Father's day is coming up I needed to get it to you.
Dads are there to tell sons/daughters how to behave right, how to become better, to protect.
You do that and so much more. Supportive of hopes and dreams.
The extra push when I need it.
The wise man for my problems/guidance.
The man I turn to when the world is crumbling down.
The man who puts everyone else before himself.
The man who admits his mistakes.
The man who lives by his word.
The man to give me advice on music.
The man to teach me the secrets to a better life.
The man who wakes up every morning and seems to tell himself today is a wonderful day.
I have called you by many names but the one you should know the most is role model.
Without you I could never do the things I do and attempt to make myself better.
Unfortunately they only give you one day but in my heart everyday is Father's Day."

    I think I'll let the tears of joy for all my sons flow as they may. I don't think dad's are simply born.   They're developed from years of influence from their own fathers and the many mentors who become surrogates at times when we won't listen to our parents.  The importance of parenting never ends for either parent. In particular the presence of a heavenly Father who loves all His children and helps us overcome our weaknesses.

Happy Father's Day, 2011.

Update 2012:  Both of our older sons have shipped for service in Afghanistan and we couldn't be prouder of their sacrifice as well of that of millions of Americans who have chosen a greater good over self interest..

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