We were going around the room discussing ‘male’ issues.
“Augie, what is your dream job and how close have you come to getting it?”
A smile spread across my face that caught everyone’s attention. It was a bit mischievous because the answer I was about to give was not the one they were expecting. Not even remotely close.
My answer was simple…“I’ve lived my dream job.”
Everyone grew quiet; especially the ones that knew me well. They were trying to figure out what job that had been.
“Being a dad was the best job I ever had.” The silence in the room grew as everyone leaned in to listen to what I was about to explain. “Yes,” I continued, “making money and having a position of authority are nice, but my children were always more important. Being with them, loving them, talking with them, playing with them, watching them do the many activities they were involved in… those were the best days of my life.”
Even now as I write these words my thoughts sail back to those days when my home was filled with their voices. They were wonderful days… trying at times, but wonderful beyond my wildest imagination.
Many years ago, when I was an 8-year-old boy, I made a life changing decision.
It had been a difficult evening; my parents had been fighting. We lived in the inner city of Chicago at that time. I was scared and lonely and I was talking to God. That night I decided that I was going to be a dad when I grew up and I would be a good one. I asked God for His help and I never looked back or doubted that someday I would be immersed in the raising of my young.
This may sound odd to some, but I am not alone. Fathering requires a man to be in love with the idea of fathering, to intentionally work at being a better father with each passing day and to always put his children before his own selfish desires.
Around this time of the year, Father’s Day, I begin to hear a lot of stories about men who are miserable fathers. Most of the stories are about dead-beat dads, wife abusers, controlling men, selfish men, and the list goes on. Indeed, today’s world is riddled with parenting problems.
However, the holiday is called “Father’s Day” for a reason. It is not called “Sperm-Donor Day” or “Lousy-Male-Role-Model Day.”
So here’s to all of you men out there who are doing the job of being a Father (with a capital F)… the men who lose sleep working that extra job or two for your family. Here’s to the man who has written in his children’s t-ball practice times in his daily planner. Here’s to the man who honors the mother of his children and makes sure his children do the same. Father’s Day is about you and the selfless way in which you go about your daily life.
For me, the best of thing about being a dad was coming home to the little voices, the stories and the laughter. Press on fathers! This job… well, it will never end.
Happy Father’s Day!