What Will They Say When They Are Gone?

Father’s Day has come and gone. The very thought of the day can bring anger, disappointment or regret too many. On the other hand, it can be a day of delight, pride and tremendous peace. It all depends on the kind of father you have or had and the kind of father you are or were.

All my kids are out of our house and married. Two have their own children. Our parenting years are pretty much gone, even though we still inject our direction and advice whenever we can.

So father’s day for me is different from those who are in the middle of parenting on a 24/7 schedule. For me it is a reflection on the past. And I love it because it gives my sons a chance to express their thoughts and feelings about my parenting. Here are a couple of their written comments from Father’s Day cards I received this year.

“I am so lucky to have a father like you. I don’t think that you were perfect, but you were excellent. I owe the man I am to who you are. Thank you for being in our lives.”

“Thank-you for giving me an example of what a good, God-fearing father should be. Everything I know how to do with my son I learned from you. Thank you for that example. I don’t often say it with words, but I appreciate the father you have been and the grandfather you will be.”

Father’s Day helps me see whether or not I really made a difference in the life of my sons by the words they express back to me, now that they are out on their own.

Which leads me to ask, what will your kids say about you once they are gone from your house? When they are out on their own what will their feelings and expressions be as they look back? Will they be able to authentically say the kind of things that make you feel overwhelmed with pride that you were their father (or mother)?

If you have your doubts or if you are sure it won’t be that rewarding, then what do you need to do right now to make a change? What do you need to develop, get rid of or redirect in your parenting approach? I would encourage you to not wait another day to get right what is currently wrong.

By the way, what do you feel are the most important qualities of a great dad that needs to be consistently evident in out parenting approach? Would you care to share your convictions?

For example, I believe an excellent model is one. Someone was right on when they said, “We teach what we know, we reproduce what we are.” And Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others-it is the only thing.” So the model we set forth will eventually be set in our children.

Our children are like play-doh. We are daily making impressions in their lives that over time will become set and very difficult to change. So make sure we are making the kind of impression we want to be with them for life.

What else do you feel is a non-negotiable when it comes to parenting?


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