It made me start thinking about what really makes a great dad?Now our culture tells young people to WAIT. Wait to get married, finish your education, get a career, wait to have children until you have all these other things in order. (Of course there is no expectations on waiting to enjoy some of the perks that should be reserved for marriage.) These are supposed to be prerequisites of becoming a good parent. Unfortunately our culture is lying to our young people. These things have absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not you will be a good parent. I would be willing to bet that those things, more often than not, hinder our ability to be good parents because we spend so many extra years on our own selfish pursuits and are then expected to all of a sudden be willing and able to put other's needs before our own. Easier said than done!!!
My dad was 19 when he married my 15 year old mother. They had neither one had tons of heartbreaks from years of failed relationships. They had not spent years living out on their own with only themselves to please.
At just 16 and 20 years old they became parents. I mean, they had not finished school and there was no talk of college. My dad was working at a furniture factory for a while and then worked in a greenhouse. Far from being established in a set and secure career. They rented a small house from my mother's grandma. They had not done any of the things our world said they should have done first. What they did do was love each other and they loved me!
Since I HAVE a great dad, it is obvious to me that none of those other things really matter. So what is it that really makes a great dad?!?
I think I will start by saying that my dad is not and was never a perfect dad. He made plenty of mistakes. I could easily sit here and give you a detailed list of the worst mistakes I believe that he made while raising 4 kids however, the specific mistakes are not important. The important part is that HE knows what mistakes he made. I can not tell you how many times my dad has apologized to me. There have been a number of times, even since I have been grown, that my dad has called me crying on the phone and begging me to forgive him for this or that from 5-10-20-30 or even 35 years ago. His ability to humble himself to his own child is just one way that he secured the hearts of his children. THAT is what makes a great parent! Holding the ♥hearts♥ of your children!
My dad has always securely held the hearts of every one of his kids. I have not lived one minute of my life questioning if my dad really loved me. I never felt the need to search out the love of a man to replace what I did not get from my dad. There has never been any topic that I did not feel comfortable in talking about with my dad. I have always known that I could go to him with ANYTHING and I always knew that I would get the truth from him. It is the same for my sister and both of my brothers.
My dad is who he is. He never tried to be somebody he is not. He has always been genuine. That is probably the reason I have always been able to discuss anything with him. I never had to worry about how he would react. I pretty much knew ahead of time what things he would be disappointed about, what things he would be excited about, what things he would disapprove of and what things he would approve of. I knew that even when he disapproved, he would love me and then he would let me know exactly why he did not approve. I knew when I disappointed him, he would love me and then encourage me to do better. Even if the disappointment caused him pain and tears(which he NEVER hid from us) love and encouragement was always there. He never hid who he was from us and we knew him as well as he knew us.
Just because his children are grown, he is still the same dad. He still makes time for each of us. He still calls just to talk. Before we all had children of our own, he still took us to 6 flags every year. After we got married our spouses joined us. After we started having kids, it changed to a camping trip or a trip to the fair. He always has time for the needs of his children! He still has a secure hold on the hearts of each of his children and now
he is also holding the hearts of his grand kids. My kids know that their hearts are just as safe and secure when they are around their papa as they are with their own daddy.
Now I feel I must say, I believe raising your children to love and honor the Lord is about the-most-important thing you can do for them. When I was growing up, my parents had us in church when we were young but they both strayed from that practice. They were both believers and did give us a foundation of faith, they just did not continue to build on that foundation like they should have. If they would have, I am sure their marriage would not have ended after 20 years. Because my dad held my heart, I ALWAYS thought "what would dad think" before I made decisions. If his worldview had been more biblical, my decisions in turn would naturally have been more biblical as well. I consider having your children's heart to be THE prerequisite of being a great parent because I have seen the results of a family that has had their children in church their whole lives, sent them to private christian schools, and produced kids that know more about the Bible than I do but because the father never held those kid's hearts, the outcome (so far) has been disastrous! My goal as a parent is to securely hold my children's hearts AND raise them with a biblical worldview. BECAUSE I have their hearts it makes the rest a lot easier.