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Dads Make the World Go Around

A bird in hand is better than a bush full.

It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Excuses are just like noses; everybody has one.

These were some of the anecdotal sayings my dad would use to teach me life lessons. Of course, at the time when he shared them, they would fall on deaf ears. After all, the world was different now compared to when he was my age. He’s old now and I have it all figured out. However, the older I got, the more I realized my dad was right. And now that I’m a father myself, I find myself using the same sayings to impart wisdom to my own children.

I am a man who is fortunate to say that he had an outstanding father. I remember thinking my dad was a giant because he was taller than me. He was the strongest man in the world because he could lift things I couldn’t. Looking through the lens of a little boy, my dad was practically a superhero and always made sure I knew that he loved me, and he was proud of me. I’m named after my father, and I wear his name proudly.  As I approach the age of 50, I realize that I’m still that little boy who looks up to his dad wanting nothing more than to make him proud.

As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but think about all the lessons learned and special moments I had with my dad. Being a father myself, I cannot think of any other experience matching the duality of fatherhood. I find the journey to be the most challenging on the one hand and the most fulfilling on the other. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no greater calling for a man than to be a father. It’s through parenting, especially fatherhood, that we see human expression of God’s love toward us his children. Once I became an adult, supporting myself, I thought I really understood God and life well. But it wasn’t until I became a father that I realized that I didn’t know much at all. Fatherhood has taught me patience, perseverance, sacrifice, and a depth of love that I believe I never would have understood apart from being a father.

I don’t know where you are physically nor emotionally as you read this blog, but I hope that you will allow yourself to be reflective on this Father’s Day. Your reflection may be your own fatherhood journey, you as your father’s child, or both. Regardless, give yourself permission to take the journey revisiting some of the places that inspired, shaped, challenged, and encouraged you. One way or another, we are all marked by our fathers; even if it’s just through DNA. I’m sure if you sit long enough, you can feel Dad’s knee when he bounced you on it, the wind in your face as he lifted you high and twirled you around, his hand on the seat post and the handlebars as he taught you how to ride a bike, your arm in his as he walked you down the aisle on your wedding day, or his high five after congratulating you on an accomplishment. Can you see Dad’s smile? Can you hear his laugh, especially when he laughed at his own cringy jokes? There’s nothing like dad humor.

Maybe I’m biased, but as far as I’m concerned, dad’s make the world go around. My dad wasn’t perfect, but what dad is?  In fact, I believe it’s through our flaws that character is forged, examples set, and trajectory charted that the wonderful gift of fatherhood is both appreciated and given.  In fathers and fatherhood God gives us a piece of himself. We are afforded the privilege of experiencing his insight, protection, and provision. To all the dads reading, know that all that you did as a father and continue to do is valuable and appreciated. Fatherhood is a privilege given only by God. Of all the men he could have chosen to raise your children, he chose you. And to everyone else reading, be grateful for what God has provided through our earthly fathers and what he continues to do as our Heavenly father.  Happy Father’s Day!

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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