The Rise of Responsibility

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.”  – Abigail Van Buren

Roses

  I am the father of three children, so whenever I can learn just about anything from other fathers – sign me up.  Two brief occurrences this past week helped me and reminded me of the good things that we can do for our kids, things that will last.  Here’s what I saw:

  We were at my wife’s office Christmas party over the weekend and, being in my early 40’s this still surprises me, I was the oldest guy there.  Some who were they were newly married while others had several small children of toddler or early preschool age and I happened to be standing next to a young man I had not yet met.  His name was Mario and we struck up a friendly conversation about food and Christmas and the weather…and then he began to tell him about his children.  And not only did he have children,but all three were daughters, and all three under the age of six.  He shared some pictures from his phone and then shared some funny stories about them, but then he shared his love for them.  He told me about the daddy/daughter dates that he enjoyed him and said, “I do these because I want them to know what a date should be like, what to expect and the great responsibility of the boy who is taking them on a date.”  This is a father who is teaching his daughters the art of caring for them and loving them and honoring them.

  The second great father lesson occurred in a short Facebook post by the Erways, friends of ours who were celebrating their only daughter’s debut in The Nutcracker ballet in Lawton.  It was a simple picture of the bouquet of roses (above) that were delivered to her that evening, but the picture was profound in that those flowers came from the heart of a dad to his daughter.  This is a father who is teaching his daughter the art of caring for her and loving her and honoring her.

  As the father of three daughters, I know one thing for certain.  Like these great dads that I observed this week, I want my girls to understand the responsibility they have to be respected and honored by the boys who cross their paths.

  As fathers, we are the first example and we are rising to the responsibility.

The Beginning of Fatherhood

I once read a book about a family…

Emily empty chair

It was a dramatic weekend for us, though nothing that unusual in the grand designs of history and humankind, the day our first daughter was born. The short drive home was so quiet, none of us completely certain of what to do and still happier than we had ever been about anything else at all. When we pulled up in the driveway of our home that late Spring night, all was right and we were suddenly a dad and a mom and a baby.

Of all things, I can still remember the way the front of our house looked as I turned off the ignition and tried to think of what to do next. The soft orangey glow of the evening lit the sidewalk and front door in such a way that an Academy Award for Best Lighting Design would surely have been in order.

We were two when we had walked out that door and down that sidewalk two days before, and now we were three – this little person, her mother, and me. And something made me realize in just that moment that this was the beginning of fatherhood.

It was a dramatic weekend for us, though nothing that unusual in the grand designs of history and humankind, yesterday when our first daughter left home for college. The short drive there was so quiet, none of us completely certain of what to do and still happier than we had ever been about anything else at all.

Of all things, I will never forget…well, everything.

We were three as we had walked up the sidewalk and unloaded the car and said our goodbyes – this grown-up, her mother, and me. And something makes me realize once again that this is the beginning of fatherhood.