We were blessed to be able to attend a conference about fatherhood a couple weekends ago. A really, really good conference — a well spent Saturday, I must say. They packed several sessions into one day, and there were several speakers that I didn’t know and had never heard of. But they all spoke of one thing — the importance of having a father in the home.
And as I was listening, while I was gleaning much from the speakers, I became immensely grateful for my father. And I realized, the more I thought about it,that fatherhood is just as sacrificial as motherhood is. Because it does require sacrifice for a father to be active in the home. Just as much as a mother.
As I have grown older, I have seen families torn apart because there is no father in the home. I have seen young men who struggle to find their way because there is no dad, but I have also seen how important it is for young ladies to have a father in the home. I have seen countless girls struggle with who they are in Christ, who meet guys online, or at work, or wherever, and they value their opinion more than their father’s. I have seen families falling apart, children going wherever, and the father helpless to do anything because he is never there.
When I was young, I barely knew my father. He was gone all the time on business trips. I can remember wearing his t-shirts to bed, waiting on Daddy to get home — one time even attacking the door when we saw him on the porch, causing the glass insert to fall on him =)
When we started homeschooling, I remember him bringing us all with him as a family. We went to many, many places, Dad working and “the girls” hanging out in the hotel. I can remember the fun lessons we learned — one time walking in and out of the bathroom as we practiced walking into a room with a smile and a kind word, ready to meet people. The games of charades, the math challenges, the card games.
And I remember when we stopped traveling so much and Dad would make it a point to come home every night. Even when he had a four or five hour drive, he would get up at three in the morning and get home late in the evening, showing his family we were his priority, not his job.
I also remember when his boss fussed at him for not traveling so much. Right before Christmas, in 2007 or 2008, and he gave my father an ultimatum: either you travel by yourself, or you’re fired.
Dad quit his job.
I remember him calling to tell Mom.
And even in the midst of the economic recession, he was quickly offered a job in the same field of business.
He could be making a six or seven digit paycheck, and our life could financially be better. He has had multiple job offers — for more money a week than I can imagine — but he won’t sacrifice his family for money.
My Daddy is special. He won’t let our family fall apart. He has such a job that he can come home if there is a snake that needs to be taken care of, or a mouse in the house, or a discipline issue. He has sacrificed friendships with other men when he has seen that the children have a detrimental effect on our family.
One of the speakers at the conference asked the fathers if their children have heard them pray. I can say yes. I have. And more than just praying over food. But he goes farther than that — he makes sure he is home every night to go over catechism with us and to lead us in family worship.
I can’t even imagine a life where my father is gone four or five days of the week, and I never see him. My heart goes out to those who do live that way, for whom this is the norm.
And if you have a father as special as mine is, go give him a big hug, knowing he loves you enough to make this happen =P