Father’s and sons have an interesting relationship.
As the boy grows up they learn a few things about the man they once loved unconditionally.
And at some point they decide that they want to be better than then their dad.
They look down on their fathers because they feel they didn’t do enough, or give enough.
They don’t know about or understand the sacrifices fathers make to ensure a good life for their families.
Children of Soldier’s particularly have to deal with these feelings, because they don’t understand why their dad is always gone.
I was raised by a my mother, and I didn’t have the joy of knowing my father until I was a teenager.
I remember that first day we meet, I was so happy to finally have a chance to get to know him.
It was also the day I had to experience my first broken bone, ice skating does that when you fall wrong.
And I can remember how much it hurt, and more importantly I remember the look in my Dad’s eyes even today.
He was scared, he didn’t know what to do beyond take me to the hospital.
And I think that’s why he kept his distance from my life even today. Fear of being responsible for me, my brothers or my sisters.
Now with two sons of my own I more than understand that fear.
Fear of doing the right thing for them.
Fear of raising them to be good men.
And I see that same look as the boy in the video above on the faces of my sons.
That look of “I don’t want to be like him”.
And I don’t want them to be like me, I want to them to be better men.
That ultimately is my gift to them.
Giving is a Gift
Teaching ourselves and our children the importance of giving is something that was lost on me early on.
It wasn’t until the later days of my career as a Soldier that I even understood or valued its importance.
As a result I think it was a lesson that I failed to teach my kids when they were younger.
But in truth its a lesson that they taught me.
As I watch my youngest son interact with people and show so much genuine concern for his family I can’t help but feel pride.
As I watch my oldest son slowly step away from home and become his own man I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Neither will credit me or anything I taught them. Ego, pride, or that “I’m going to do better than you” won’t allow that.
But that’s OK, because I know, and one day when they are fathers themselves, they will know.
They will know that being a father and a provider is the hardest thing they will ever do. And they will both do it very well.
That is their ultimate gift to me.