It’s early morning Father’s Day, like 5:15 am early in the morning. It’s not unusual for me to be awake and I have the unfortunate disposition of when my eyes open, that’s the end of sleeping because my mind begins to work. My mind this morning is reflective of Father’s Day and the title of Father. Obviously I think of my two sons and the years that I have held this position; the only position I have held longer is Husband.
I am one to measure most everything by success or failure, either is works or it doesn’t, and no one is a harsher critic of me than the guy that stares back at me in the mirror. What is a successful Father and on self evaluation, how do I measure up? If providing myself a realistic and true evaluation, this is a tough question for me to ponder.
When I found out that I was going to earn the Father title, I was excited and scared to death. Excited by the possibilities and scared because I was really in all honesty, not prepared for what was ahead of me…but is anyone really? I did all the things expected of a Father which from my point of view is to love my children, provide for them and to do what I could for them to have a life far better than I. In many aspects, I believe that I have success in these three areas, but a deeper look, I admittedly failed miserably along the way. My personality “wiring” is pretty much all or nothing, leave nothing on the table, first one in/last one out and do it right the first time, or don’t bother. For many segments of life these traits are admired and often revered with such accolades of “leader,” “winner,” and such. But in the title of Father, such is not necessarily positive or productive.
I was formally trained as a leader, and I had none as a Father. Expectations of my personal standards are high because as a leader, I have to “have my stuff together” before I could demand that others do the same. Unfortunately, I have often been wrong in this particular area of parenthood. The task of being a Father is not to mold a child into a clone; a clone that is better, more driven, or more successful. The task of being a Father is not to challenge my kids to reach personal expectations or to make up for the failure in my own life…you know “if I had my time to go over again, I would have” type mentality.
As I write this morning evaluating my position of Father thinking “if I had time to go over again” for last nearly 24 years, what would I do different? Love more, correct and expect less. Let the little and many of the big things go. As I am told all the time by their Mother (thank God for her), in the end and the big scheme of life, does this incident really matter? On my deathbed, does cutting the grass too low all the way down to the soil or a dent in the side of my car change the way life will turn out? No.
What’s most interesting about my position of Father is that my two sons actually have taught me more about life than I thought imaginable. For all my failed reactions, my high expectations and my demands for excellence on them, all they require of me is to love them for who they are…because that’s what they do for me. My boys (really men is a better term) love me despite those times when I miserably failed with them. Of course we have had more happiness and great times than speeding tickets or bad grades; but those times of turbulence place cracks in the foundation of what is built up in the “big scheme of life.” All the cracks are directly attributed to my handling of situation.
I know and I have witnessed some of my before-mentioned traits that I have passed to both of them, which is necessary in some instances of life, but not all. Both my son’s love deeply and forgive quickly; their expectations for life are driven to enjoy the moment. These two cause me to pause, take a step back to realize that I need to be more like them, follow their example. Yes, I am a successful Father…thanks to my sons providing me unconditional love and becoming better men than I. That’s all a Father can ask for. From the desk of The Funeral Commander; Happy Father’s Day Y’all! #thefuneralcommander