A Father’s #EpicFail
I can still remember when Elizabeth walked out of the bathroom and the 3-minute countdown started. It was just like the Eric Church song, we were “sitting around waiting on two pink lines.” When that moment of truth was finally revealed, we were overcome with joy. I was going to be a DAD! Not just any dad, I was going to be the BEST DAD ever!
I had 9 months of planning. I was determined to set a new standard for fatherhood! I was going to be a better dad than my dad, than his dad, and his dad. Sure, they were good dads but they had made mistakes. I was going to be the first one to get it right and my kids would grow up to be perfect. Yeah…that lasted about a week.
My #EpicFails as a father started on week one and have continued to plague my campaign as the Greatest Dad of All Time ever since. I wasn’t fast enough when Hannah rolled off the couch for the first time. I told Victoria that her finger was fine and to “suck it up” two weeks before the doctor pointed out the break in the X-ray. I’ve missed a few soccer games and even an award ceremony or two because of work. I’ve totally ignored my girls’ attempts to gain my attention because there was an email that I just had to get out. I’ve come home exhausted from work and unfairly taken out my frustrations on my kids by fussing or being short-tempered. I have missed many opportunities to spend just a few extra minutes being a dad because my schedule was packed too tightly. Where did things go so wrong? This wasn’t part of the plan. I was supposed to be better than this, to do it differently…to do it right.
If you are a father and can relate to any of this, then don’t beat yourself up too bad. When we became fathers, there was only one thing that was for certain and it’s that we would screw it up! Since the beginning of time there has only been record of one perfect father, and unfortunately, it’s not any of us.
It’s not that I don’t care. I love my family more than anything in this world! In fact, I was convinced that I was doing all of this for them. I believed I was doing it right. I wanted them to have the best of everything. They should have access to the best schools, the best clothes, the best vacations, the best Christmas presents and the best birthday parties. I wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed and every chance that I didn’t have. That’s what the world tells us it takes to be a “great” dad. But that’s not greatness. That’s counterfeit greatness!
So what does it take to be a “great” father? The best thing we can offer our kids is our time. I’m convinced that’s what they want more than anything. Our time and our mere presence provide our children with a sense of security, confidence, self-esteem, accountability, belonging, discipline and even purpose. Let’s stop denying them the thing that they desire the most because we’re too busy trying to provide them with the things that we think they need.
Being a father is the best job in the world, and it comes with great responsibility. On this Father’s Day, may we find peace in knowing that we were never intended to be perfect fathers. May we forgive our fathers and their fathers for not being perfect either. May we recommit to building our children up instead of tearing them down and pointing out their flaws. May we tell them how beautiful they are and how proud we are of them. May we teach them how to love through strong marriages and relationships. May we constantly remind them that their worth is not determined by their classmates or friends, but by their Creator. The only way we truly fail as fathers is to stop trying to emulate the One that got it right.
Happy Father’s Day!