Thursday, June 18, 2009

Siring Kids, or Being a Dad?

Speaking personally, I’m no great shakes as a father. Oh, I sired three kids – sons, and they turned out to be pretty smart, hard-working, productive citizens.
The two married fellas are committed, considerate husbands, and very involved fathers in sharing the domestic load (they turn their hand to every aspect of Domesticum) and their children’s activities. My unmarried son is extremely dedicated to his students in his school-teaching work, and has proven himself a loyal friend to many acquaintances. All three are terrific sons.
Believe me, I wish I could take some credit for that; and although Father’s Day is coming up, I willingly concede that their mother had much more than I to do with cultivating their positive qualities and rounded maturity. So dads, if you have a son or daughter to be proud of, how much do you credit yourself with that? Or to whom do you attribute their good qualities and hail the greatest praise? My beloved and I are gratefully proud, and join hearts and voices in thanking God for our kids.
Siring children is easy when the reproductive systems of both partners are operational and compatible, as anyone who has spent even five minutes viewing "The Maury Povich Show" should agree. Now that’s a show I don’t watch. However, its advertizing trailers and one’s just flipping through channels afford time enough to pick up the sorry, sordid affairs, the anger, hate, rank promiscuity, and massive dysfunctionality that many of Povich’s guests portray – beamed into a zillion living rooms. It’s sad – worse, alarming – that little children are born into such toxic home and relational environments! Don’t get me wrong; I like what I’ve seen of Maury; but a voice in my head shouts "Crap tv!" in regard to the content; and methinks I’ve even heard a choking whisper, "Who needs this river of sewer spewage?"
No, there’s much more to being a father than simply the biological progenitor of offspring; it’s being a dad. My father was not perfect, but He was my Dad, and in the will of the Almighty (my Heavenly Father), Dad was the perfect father for me. I certainly wasn’t a perfect son ... And I’ve been far from the best dad on the street, never mind in the world.
Ah, kids teach us much about ourselves, and my sons continue to teach me lessons I should have learned when they lived under our roof. For example: It’s OK to take time out to play ball with your kids, or to say, "Really, I’d like to come over and help, but I have a parent-teacher interview with my son tonight, and I must be there for him." I should have learned this: Beware that you’re not at the beck and call of other people more than you are available to your own wife and family. Sometimes, though, they reflect the ol’ guy’s better qualities; sometimes it’s the lesser stellar qualities they replicate.
You have kids? Grandkids? What have they taught you about yourself, or about what you would do differently on a ‘Twice in a Lifetime’ parenting romp?
Proverbs 6:20-22 (NIV): My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.

© Peter A. Black.

Black writes a weekly inspirational column in The Watford Guide-Advocate. The article above was first published in that newspaper, Thursday June 18, 2009. His first book, "Parables from the Pond," was published in 2008.

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