Yesterday I started an adventure that I have never undertaken before. I drove down to Kansas City, met my in-laws there and let my wife ride off with them as I loaded all 4 of my kids in our van and went home. My MIL is not well and my better half needed to be with her without the chaos that my children can bring. I offered not only to drive her down there, but I offered to take the kids off of her hands so that she can be down there. Yesterday was not so bad. My youngest took it harder than the other two as she cried out that she would never get to see her mom again. It took me a good hour of convincing that we will see her next Sunday but I did finally get her calmed down. The rest of the 5 hour drive was spent in worship, a movie, and sing-a-longs with Weird Al. I imagine by the end of the week I will have a new found appreciation for single moms and single dads out there.
Something that has really bothered me through the my years as a father is when I here someone offer their condolences to me as I watch the kids on my own. Or, they say something like, “Oh, you are babysitting your kids tonight.” Or worse yet, the stares I get when I am out with just my kids. I remember the 1st time I had special daddy time with my kids. I took all four to go see a movie while we were on vacation so that mom could get a nap. The person at the movie theater had this deer caught in a head lights panicked look on his face watching me bring 4 completely under control children into the movie theater. Even this past Saturday, I took the kids to a movie and received a similar look from one of the mothers there. She was shocked that I was there, all by myself without a mother.
What has happened to the fathers in this society? When did it become so unusual for us to take an active role in the raising of our children? (And I am talking about more than watching your son during football practice.) Fathers, we need to be more involved. A dad is more than a person that comes home and watches TV while mom makes sure that dinner is serves, dishes are washed, homework is done, and kids are washed up before bed. A dad needs to be there kissing booboos, teaching their children, doing special things with them, and of course teaching them about faith, love, marriage, parenting, etc.
Now, I realize that some of you don’t live with your children. It becomes even more important that you be involved in their life. My wife had an uninvolved father. He was so uninvolved that when we invited him to the our wedding and sent him a birth announcement from our first child he NEVER replied. I cannot begin to explain unto you the psychological damage it caused upon my wife. Absent fathers don’t just hurt children, they hurt adult children.
Stop settling for “just good enough” and be the best father you can be.