I’ve not always been the best father. Often I fail. But I can see most of my failures plainly because I know good fatherhood when I see it. And when I see it, it makes me want to aspire to it. I see it in my God, who teaches me how to love. I see it in my own father whose steadfastness cannot be too greatly praised. I see it in the lives of friends and acquaintances who are examples of good fathers to their children.
When I was a younger man, a stupider man, I could have never imagined the joys that children bring. I did not know that climbing trees like I was ten again could bring great happiness. I did not anticipate the pride I felt when my oldest began beating me regularly at basketball. Or when my youngest son picked up the guitar I had never quite taken the time to learn. Or the pure, inexplicable energy of my daughter, as she bounds across the room to tell me what happened in school that day.
Somewhere along the way, I wised up. I see fathers who never do, and it makes my soul ache. And it makes me grateful. So very grateful that somehow my eyes were opened, and I saw. Maybe it was maturation, but I doubt it. I believe it was the growth of seeds long planted – seeds planted by my own father, by good preaching and teaching, and in seeing contrasts between what I should be and what I could be.