Even under the best of circumstances, fatherhood is not easy. In fact, fatherhood is very difficult. No one should ever tell a young man that fatherhood will be easy for him. I worked hard and tried to be a good father to my children (three daughters). I still try hard. My girls are grown now, married, and have children of their own. I was not a perfect father, but I loved my daughters unconditionally from the time they were conceived. My deepest love for them will remain. They will always be my little girls (Alicia, Breanna, Kaitlyn), and I will always express my unconditional love and support for them.
A father usually is not alone in raising his children; however, some men and women have to raise their children on their own. We should never forget that. I am especially thankful for single parents and for their children. I have complete respect for the job they must do on their own. I am fortunate enough to have my wife, Rhonda. Together we worked hard to raise our children. I give the majority of the credit for my children to my wife. My wife is a blessing to me. Our children are blessings to both of us.
This article was initially planned to be a story about my experiences as a father, with a few references to two of the greatest fathers I have ever known: my father and my father–in–law. Things did not work out that way. The moment I sat and begin to type, my story changed. It changed from a story about the past — my father, my father–in–law and me — to a story about the present and the future—my three sons–in–law.
My Dad was a great father. He was a car painter who, with my mother, raised six children. I will forever keep him on a pedestal for his unconditional love and for his selfless actions in giving all he had to his wife and children. He kept nothing for himself. What a role model for selfless fatherhood!
My father–in–law was an ethical and principled educator (teacher & school principal) who stood up for the rights of minorities to have an equal education long before it was vogue with the ultra liberal crowd to do so. He took a stand for equality in education for the same reason he took a stand for other important issues: It was the right thing to do. No one had to tell my father–in–law to do the right thing because, in all likelihood, he was already doing the right thing. He was determined to provide minority children in the deep south (late 1960s) with an equal education long before self–absorbed liberals begin ordering others around (okay, just one slight dig at liberals; I’m good now). And he was a great father to his two daughters.
Anyway, my story is now primarily about my three sons–in–law: Dan, Tim and Travis. My wife and I have eight grandchildren. We are fortunate that each of our grandchildren has a fantastic Dad.
Dan, Tim and Travis are steadfast in support of their wives. Each is also a great father. I see each giving all he has to his family. I see each working hard to provide. Each spends quality time with his children. Each is raising his children to believe that this world will be a better place if children are raised to live morally and ethically and with a sense of responsibility.
Aside from raising perfect children (all my grandchildren are perfect, but so are yours, so that’s not really special), my sons–in–law work hard, do the right thing, and — my personal favorite — they never whine. Life’s hard but they do not give up.
So now my three sons–in–law are my role models. Don’t worry, my Dad won’t be upset with me from Heaven. He’s still up on my pedestal, believe me. And I will always look up to my father–in–law for the great father and person he was. I look at it this way: God has given me three more role models to look up to, and I am happy to have them. I can never have too many. I am blessed.