As a woman, I’d be very leery if my husband said he understood what it was like to be a mom. Can you imagine? Fortunately, he’s smart enough to never suggest that! What man knows all of the thousands of details that spin in a mom’s mind as she lays down at night? What man knows the number of times we’re up before the sun and to bed after him because it’s just what being a mom calls for?
The answer is none… with maybe a head nod to single dads. ????
In the very same way, it’s impossible for me to truly understand what it’s like to be a dad. As humans, our tendency is to pull out the violin for ourselves and minimize the burden and responsibility everyone else carries. But please could we break out of that rut this weekend long enough to truly acknowledge the value of fathers?
Fathers shape us. My dad made me believe I could do anything. He loved me unconditionally. He equipped me to take care of myself. (I can change a tire and I know the right way and the wrong way to wash a car. Bet you didn’t know there was a wrong way, did you?!) He taught me to do things with excellence. Every day of my life, my dad has put his two children’s needs and desires above his own. He did this while he also sacrificed for our country. Some days he left for the military base, while other days he left the country knowing his duty to his country and the way he provides for his family might not bring him back. I can’t even fathom the weight he carried as he’d land an airplane on an aircraft carrier while his family was thousands of miles away, unaware of the dangers he faced.
I fast forward to watching my husband father our children. When we had little resources, our kids still had everything. Yes, he provided an education, opportunities, a home, and food. But beyond tangible provision, he made sure they had what truly mattered: his presence, his encouragement, his heart, his unconditional love and support. As we’ve walked through a season of adversity, I’ve appreciated in a new way the burden that fathers carry to be a protector and provider for their family. Yes, I want to provide and protect. But there’s a whole other level of weight that I’ve seen Chris carry out of a complete love for his children and me.
We hear the stories of the dads who leave heart-shaped holes and don’t live up to our expectations. But for every one of those stories, there are thousands who are living their lives every single day for the sake of their family. They not only work hard and love well, but they also carry an unspoken sense of responsibility to give their children everything they need.
May we pour courage, appreciation and love on the fathers in our lives this weekend. May we never take their sacrifices for granted.