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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Father of Mine

As another Father’s Day comes and goes, I am reminded of the role a father has in the life of a child and family.

You see, being a father is so much more than partnering with a woman and creating a child. A father can set the direction of a child’s life by the way they live.

I know in my own life; my tone fed the atmosphere for our entire family. Whether this was fair or not, it was true, and I had to learn to be aware of my tone so as not to create a negative environment for everyone else.

I also know the presence of a father who is involved in the life of his family and living in a way where they can find comfort, peace and assurance is vital to their well-being.

I know this to be true because I did not have that role in my life. As I say this, a true irony exists because I had two fathers, neither of which were very good at modeling the best of what it meant to be a father to me.

In my memories of the first “father of mine”, I remember a man who worked all the time. In fact, I recall him working two jobs. You may think this admirable, and I suppose on some level it is, but it was not what we needed. This became evident and true when my folks divorced when I was seven years old.

Then, at age twelve, that “father of mine” walked away.

I did not realize until forty years later the depth of the damage this created in me. Though it was apparent early on with my brother.

At twelve, my second father came into play. This “father of mine” gave me a name when he adopted me and my two siblings. Initially things were great. He was a kindhearted man who loved to hunt and fish. Then it became obvious he had his own issues to deal with. He did so through alcohol, which never ends well, and did not for him or us.

In the end, he walked away too.

So, I was left to learn to be a father on my own. These lessons were slow and difficult, but I managed through the patience of my wife and the love of my Heavenly Father, who helped me to see the need to be the father I had never known.

If asked, I would say I did a good job as a father to my two children. Yet, even as I say this, I am aware I do not have the relationship with either of them I thought I would have at this point in their lives.

Perhaps, in retrospect, I can see where my biggest failure may have been trying to be like the first “father of mine”. I was trying to provide everything I never had for my children, and what they really needed was me.

Even as I lament my mistakes, misdeeds and shortcomings and another Father’s Day passes, I am left to wonder now whether my children are saying, “Daddy gave me a name then he walked away!”

I hope not, because my desire was, and is, to be the father they need until the Lord calls me home. Until then, all I can do is give praise to Jesus, and say thank you “Father of mine” for calling me Your child, for giving me a name and for never walking away!

1 John 2:13, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.

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