I just got back from lunch. Rudy’s Bar-B-Q. I was with a good friend. He is a good husband and a good father. In fact, he is a fine man.
We talked about being a father to children. It is very difficult. I thought about my own children and the ups and downs that we faced over the years. There were times during which we as parents needed great patience with our children. There were times when our children had to show great patience with their mom and dad. After we talked, I began to think about what I might do if I had it to do over. What I’m thinking:
1. I am grateful for those many, many nights that we put them to bed. I am grateful for the talks at their bedside. I am grateful for the times that we prayed together just before they went to bed.
2. I am glad for all those "special days." Time spent with each one individually. Breakfasts and lunches at McDonald’s, Hardee’s, other places that began when each one was very small and that continued on for many, many years.
3. I wish that I had not made such a big deal over some things that really were not that important.
4. If I had to do it over, I would try to do a better job of not letting my emotion and frustration at work bog the family down. I don’t know if the girls remember that, but I do.
5. I am thankful for every person who in some way has made a positive contribution to their lives. If I could do it over, I would continue to seek out good role models.
6. As I think back, I remember the questions that in some way related to their disappointment or confusion with adults. "Why did ____ leave his wife and children?" I remember the night one of our children bumped into a woman in a restaurant. This woman had left her husband and children. She was sitting with another woman at the restaurant talking about how glad she was to be single. I remember that my daughter came home and asked me why this woman would talk like this. Wow.
7. I will never forget certain parents, a few coaches, and a few people at church who really encouraged our children. Their encouragement and good example meant so much.
8. I am so thankful that we have been a family who has laughed and enjoyed time together. I have wonderful memories of vacations and other times together when we laughed and laughed.
9. Our children worked hard. Sports. Jobs. Mowing our grass. They paid their traffic tickets. We saw their confidence increase in high school and college as they became more and more responsible with money.
10. There is absolutely nothing that mattered to us, regarding our children, more than their relationship with God. More than popularity, athletics, grades, money, etc. More than anything, we wanted them to grow up learning to love God.