A couple years ago while we were staying at the beach, Mel and the girls had to run down to the grocery store, and load up supplies for the week ahead. After filling up the buggy and getting in the check out line, she noticed a young guy with his little boy with him standing behind them. Seeing how they only had a couple things, Dad had a case of beer, and some hamburger and buns, and the little boy had one of those toys grocery stores stick out there as draws to kids, Mel told them to go ahead. Just as the clerk finished ringing him up he realized he had forgotten his wallet, but he did have a few bucks on him. And there was the problem; he had to make a choice, the beer or the toy …
Guess which one he made, that’s right the toy. Even though he wanted those beers, there was no way he was going to break his son’s heart. And that’s what made him a Daddy. And a Daddy’s number one goal in life is to always see a smile on the face of his child.
That sounds so simple doesn’t it, always making sure your child smiles? But we all know life isn’t that way. I’ll never forget the first time Mel told me we were going to have a baby, I was scared to death. Here was a brand new baby coming into this world, I didn’t even know if it was going to be a boy or girl, but what ever it was, he or she was going to be my responsibility. I was going to have to make sure there was plenty to eat, a roof over his or her head, and clothes on its back. And that was just the beginning! I wasn’t more than a kid myself!
Being a parent is the ultimate in on-the-job training. Oh sure there are some books out there, but who has time to read books with a brand new child? And being a new father I didn’t have a clue, till I got to thinking about it, what would my Daddy do? My father taught me the greatest lesson in parenting that I ever had, without ever once opening his mouth. He loved us.
When we were celebrating something, he celebrated even more. When our hearts were breaking, he was even sadder, and when he had to discipline us, I honestly believe it hurt him more than it did us. Oh sure we made him mad sometimes, little boys can’t help that, we are mischievous by nature, but if we ever got a spanking, the next thing you knew he would be hugging us.
I remember myself, sending the girls to their rooms, no TV, no games, I’d tell them it would be for a week, by the next couple days, I really don’t know who was more miserable them or me. Then I would finally give in, or either I would fuss at them, and just the looks on their faces broke my heart. And I would think of my Father, and the next thing I knew I would be apologizing for fussing at them.
Which is something I think most fathers forget, we are teaching our kids how to raise their kids, and they will be teaching their kids. And come to think of it, it will be to be like us, or to be nothing like us, which if you think about it, is kind of sad. Do you want your kids to say to theirs, “I don’t want you to be anything like your Granddaddy”? But the choice is yours.
My Dad had three important things in his life: his GOD, his family, and his church, everything else, well they really weren’t all that important. Till the day the cancer got to him where he couldn’t leave the house, on Sunday morning he was at church, and to the day we all married, as long as we were in his house, so were us boys. He wasn’t as vocal as Momma, but he didn’t need to be, we just knew we were going.
We were of the generation of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood; you know the strong silent types. But Daddy must not have gotten the memo; I never walked out his door, talked on the phone, or run into him in town without a hug and an “I love you.” As sure as the sun rose in the morning and the moon at night, I knew my Daddy loved me.
And to be honest I really think we all need to be like that. Our kids need to know; without a doubt we love them. Not just that we throw a ball with them, take them fishing, buying them the fancy newest thing. Kids need to hear it; they need to feel it, not just take it for granted. Some might say it’s not macho to say “I love you” all the time, Dad flew for years on a bomber that carried a nuclear bomb, it don’t get much more macho.
This Sunday is Father’s Day, Dads it’s our day. But in a sense it also Granddaddy’s Day, and Great Granddaddy’s Day and so on. What we teach our kids will affect the generations to come, even if we don’t realize it.
The choice is yours.
You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at email@example.com.
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