Lessons from My Dad
From my dad I learned how to cherish my wife and mother of my children, but little about how to be an involved dad. My father was a career Army officer and often gone including the first 5 years of my life. When he was home, though physically present, he wasn’t always there for me. Maybe he wanted to be, but just didn’t know how to relate to me. The back-story. My dad was an only child and lost his father at an early age. As a teenager, he attended a military boarding school. Lacking a father model in his life must have made it more challenging to be an involved dad.
On the positive side, he had a wonderful loving relationship with my mom. One of my best childhood memories was seeing my mom and dad hug and kiss on the balcony. I always knew my parents were committed to each other and to our family but as a father, I wanted to be more involved and emotionally connected to my sons than my dad was to me.
Lessons from My Father-in-Law
I always knew my father-in-law liked me. Later I discovered that before either of our parents were married, Claudia’s dad dated my mom. (We’re really glad they didn’t get together!)
From the very beginning, Claudia’s dad was encouraging and accepting. I am sure he was not always thrilled with decisions we made—like when I left IBM to join a Christian ministry and later when we moved to Europe for several years taking his daughter and grandsons so far away, but he never complained and remained supportive. His accepting and encouraging spirit, his faith in God, and his generous spirit were contagious and over the years I have strived to model these traits to my sons and to others.
Lesson from My Heavenly Father
As much as I would like to believe I could be the perfect father, it is an impossible task.
How wonderful that my Heavenly Father is! He has given me security, forgiveness and unconditional love, and empowers me to build close relationships with my family.
With God’s help, I’m striving to model to my sons the lessons I have learned from my fathers—acceptance, encouragement, a living faith, and a loving and cherishing relationship with their mother.
Living It Out
What are the lessons you have learned from the fathers in your life? What traits would you like to model to your children? Ask your Heavenly Father to give you insight into each of your children and how you can be a better father and husband to your wife. If you ask, He will answer.
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children
and the hearts of children to their fathers.
The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him!
By David Arp, MSW
Husband to Claudia, Dad of 3
Grandfather to 10
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Members
Founders of Marriage Alive and 10 Great Dates