I imagine most of us have a least a few dads that we know of that have helped to create the view of a good father that we hold on to. These are some of the fathers (not all of the fathers) that have helped shape my perspective of a good father. Try to see if you can pick up on any common themes among the dads.
Travis was a guy that I went to college with during my undergrad. We stayed in touch afterward, and we try to get together at least once a year. Every time that I talk with Travis, he shares something about his family. It is always evident that they are a high priority to him. In fact, his kids are some of the smartest children I have ever met. Last we spoke he was learning Japanese with his children. Their constant pursuit of wisdom and virtue has always had a longstanding impact on me. One of the most powerful dad moments I have ever witnessed was when I took part in a ceremony where Travis dedicated himself and his family to raising his son to be a “modern-day knight.” It was clear from the very beginning that Travis would be a very intentional dad. I’ve seen him tough it out during family hardships, serve others alongside his children, and lead by example in personal growth.
Rick was at one time my boss, is a member of my church and is my very good friend. I have always appreciated the boundaries that he has set for his family. When it seems like the whole world has been seeking their own passions and pursuits, Rick has given wise discernment to what is best for the development and wellbeing of his children. I have also been impressed by the calm, unshaken character that he shows toward his children. I remember the one day that Rick told me that he didn’t have access to his work laptop because his daughter had accidentally spilled some kind of liquid on it (I don’t recall what the liquid was). I would have lashed out at my children. But, steady ol’ Rick used the opportunity to teach his daughter grace. Rick is the best example of God’s love and compassion that I know.
Jose is another member of my church. Jose is one of those guys that are really a dad to everyone. Jose has this way of drawing the best out of anyone. He is a great encourager and a remarkable listener. He has best demonstrated the art of putting others before himself. I haven’t actually had a ton of conversations with Jose, but whenever we do, he has the gift of making you feel like the most important person in the world. I can only imagine that his kids would say the same about him.
Nathan was another guy that I have kept in touch with since undergrad. Nathan has had a long, rocky road since then. Nathan was in many ways a single father before his divorce and recent marriage to his current wife. Nathan often would pick up the slack around the house after working a full-time and a part-time job. Nathan and I parent very differently, but I have great respect for how much he seeks to lead his daughter toward independence and strength as a woman. What impresses me most about Nathan is that, though he has been through so much, I have never once heard him complain about his circumstances.
Daniel used to go to my church. He currently lives out of state, which has made it difficult to keep in contact with. What I most admire about Daniel is the level of involvement he has with his children. Daniel often will do things with his kids that I would personally set aside for my own enjoyment. It shows too in his children. The last time that I saw him, his son was cracking me up. In every way, he was a spitting image of his dad. While we were together, I watched his son play video games with him, play a card game together, listen to music, go on a walk together, and talk obnoxiously about the complexities of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. They are inseparable. Though he doesn’t have the same relationship with his daughter or youngest son (mostly because of age), it is easy to see that they have grown up in a home where they have felt loved, safe, and prioritized.
I don’t actually remember how Michael and his family came into my family’s life. However, I do remember the impact they have had on us. Michael is a perfect example of a dad that thinks outside of the box and nurtures curiosity. Whether it’s turning his stairs into a slide using some flattened cardboard boxes or building a “child-friendly” archery range in his basement, Michael has created a world of possibility for his family. Those girls have been immersed in healthy exploration, having benefited from enlightenment, safety, and encouragement. There never seems to be an end to the excitement going on at that house. I always look forward to seeing what new adventure the family has begun each time I come to visit.
So, those are some of the dads that I wanted to share with you. Now, I would like to encourage any readers to share about any dads that have been a positive influence on you? How have they had an impact on you?