I have been changed by the birth of my son and the new responsibility as a father. I thought I knew what responsibility and love was when I met my wife and married her. My wife is a strong, independent, and God fearing women. I have her parents to thank for the fact that they raised her in a Godly home. True love is about how far you are willing to go to put aside your selfish nature for the betterment of that person. Sure my wife needs me to provide for her, but our son needs us for anything and everything and is completely dependent. Our son was born as an empty vessel that desires his mother and father to provide him love, nurturance, acceptance, and direction in life. If my wife and I don’t provide this for him, where else would he receive it? The problem with many children is that they go outside the family to receive this identity during their teen years. We have realized that we have such a small window of time to influence him and train him up to be a Godly man. We have learned what it means to be selfless and giving.
My father taught me the values, morals, and selflessness that helped shape my identity. We live in a country where about 1 in 3 children will live in a home without a father. I was extremely fortunate to have my father present and ALWAYS available. Sure my father provided my physical needs, but it was the sacrifice he made to provide for me emotionally and spiritually that I will always remember most. My dad was very skilled at leaving his work behind at the end of the day and not allowing it to get in the way of time with me. He spent a great deal of time in the evening and weekends playing sports with me, communicating with me, and just plain being present with me when I needed him emotionally. He always told me that he loved me and was proud of me, and still says these things to me to this day. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how rare this was when I realized that most of my friends did not have this type of bond with their fathers.
My dad has since retired this past year from nearly 40 years in the computer/IT field and he was someone who always taught me the value of hard work. He worked very hard in his job, but also worked hard to instill values, morals, and ethics into me. There was rarely a Sunday that we did not go to church and Sunday School. We attended a very small church, but it felt like a family to us and I would watch carefully as my father would interact with the other members of the church and volunteer his time.
Father’s are often unintentionally teaching their children lessons just by the way that they live their lives. I realize that so much of what I learned from my father was not while he was making a point or creating a teaching moment, but just by observing the way he lived. He was a man of integrity, a God fearing man, and a man of character. For that I am forever grateful. It was not until I became a father that I realized how much I benefited from his influence.
I encourage all parents, but especially father’s to realize the importance you have on your families. The measure of a man is the spiritual and emotional health of his family. Men need to provide vision, courage, and leadership. Without this, your wife and children will suffer. 1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Thank you dad for helping to teach me what it means to provide…I love you.
Tagline: Michael Linn, M.Ed., is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is a Regional Director at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling with office locations in South Central Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania. Please visit www.safeharbor1.com for more information or call 717-264-0614 to make an appointment.