It’s Father’s day, here in America. I’ve never written about this before, so I thought I’d give it a go. Growing up I had many clashes with my father. By the time I was thirteen or so, I had so much anger and hate in me, that when watching TV shows, I’d root for the bad guys. As a kid, I promised myself, that if I ever had a kid I’d never spank them. As a teenager, I spent my time fostering my hate and anger, plotting to kill my family. I had it all planned out, exactly how I’d do it. Then one night, in my late teens, early twenties, after my dad and I had had an argument, I decided that I wanted out. I wanted out of life. So I grabbed a knife and started cutting on my left wrist. My dad begged and pleaded with me to stop, but I didn’t. He had to call 911. It was then that I became a ward of the state, and started receiving care for my issues. They had diagnosed me as bi-polar disorder with schizo-affective features, which turned out to be wrong. Part of the treatment involved seeing a therapist. When I began seeing the therapist I thought my parents were abusive. My folks also went through counseling. Toward the end of my tenure in the mental health system, when I realized that I didn’t need to act like that and they diagnosed me correctly with impulsivity disorder with explosive features (in other words I was an immature brat with a hot temper), my dad offered to take me to a Promise Keeper conference. This conference was in California. It was here were my dad and I began to mend the bridges. In many ways, that was the turning point in my relationship with my dad. By this time, I had realized that my folks were not abusive, and that I equated love with being understood. Since I had grown up being misunderstood, that translated to feeling like I wasn’t loved. I had blamed my folks for so much, things that were just as much out of their control as it was out of mine. But after the Promise Keeper rally things changed and I began to see, understand things differently.
I really began to understand what being a father is all about, and why my dad did some of the things he did, when I had my own child. I had wanted a daughter. I wanted a daughter because girls tend to be more scholastically oriented. I didn’t want a boy because of all the sports and such. I got my wish. I got a beautiful little girl. The first time I held her, at home, I shook. She was so small. She was 17 3/4 inches, and weighed six pounds. Her first day home, she slept and slept and slept. I called the hospital, because she was sleeping so much. They said if she sleeps for longer than six hours, to wake her. I anxiously waited, and when the six hour mark hit I woke her. This little life was so frail and fragile and depended on me for everything. She was utterly helpless. My dad had given me some advice, which was to treasure each moment. Instead I eagerly awaited the next mile stone. I wish I had listened to my dad on that one. The promise that I made to myself, about not spanking, I soon realized that was stupid. On one occasion, when she was two, we were waiting for the bus, after church, to go home. Since she was about two, she was being a typical toddler, playing and such. The problem was, she wasn’t minding her surroundings, and came close to being in the street several times. I warned her about it. I told her to sit, but toddlers? Yeah, right! So I ended up smacking her hand. Someone, in Burger King behind us, had called the cops because I smacked her hand. They thought it was child abuse. When the cops arrived, I explained what had happened and why. I even demonstrated it to him. He informed me that corporal punishment is legal in my state.
God is our heavenly Father. He desperately longs to have a relationship with us. He laments over our poor choices, and disciplines us when we do wrong, but He always showers us with love. Our earthly fathers are supposed to be examples of God being a good father. We certainly strive for that. I know my dad certainly strove for that. But we are human and make mistakes. There are many who grew up with terrible examples of God being a father. Instead, they saw their father being abusive. My wife, is one such example. As a new born, her folks were traveling cross country. Apparently she wasn’t liking the formula. Her clothes were wet from throwing up so much. Finally, in Arizona, her father has had it with her crying and wants to throw her in the dumpster. Instead, they give her to a lady behind a restaurant, who became her mother. A couple years later, the guy Deby had come to know as her father, ends up leaving since he divorced Deby’s mom. This threw Deby into a serious depression. She refused to eat, and had to be given vitamin B12 shots. The next guy who would fill the father role for her, ended up being sadistic, and severely abused her. So she never had a good model of what a father is supposed to be like. As fathers we can either be a good model, like we’re supposed to be, and help our children foster their relationship with God, or we can be poor role models, as in my wife’s case, and impede and hinder that relationship with God. It’s an awesome and fearful thing to be a father, to have such a burden of responsibility, but the reward far out weighs anything. I thank my father for being a good role model, and example of my heavenly Father. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but neither was I for my daughter. So, for all the dads out there, and to God, our heavenly Father, “Happy Father’s day”!