Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. - Charles R. Swindoll
We don’t always get things right the first time. If you’ve played any golf at all, you may wonder if you will EVER get it right. But with most things, you get better over time if you really want to.
Very few men are prepared when they get married. They haven’t really had any marriage training with the exception of watching their parents’ marriage. And if statistics hold true, odds are they didn’t see a good marriage if the marriage survived at all.
And what about fatherhood?
Men haven’t had any training at all on what it takes to be a dad. We know what we liked and disliked with our own fathers and we make adjustments based on the only standard of fathership we know.
Some men pursue additional knowledge and training on what it takes to not only be a good husband and dad, but to be a great husband and dad. Movements like Promise Keepers helped, as have organizations like Family Life. There are a handful of fantastic books and study series that can really make a difference as well. But these are somewhat limited to the evangelistic Christian community and I don’t think a large majority of the population knows anything about them.
That’s where the movies come in.
Sherwood Pictures in Albany, Georgia has produced several movies that give a crash course on what it means to be a great husband and father. Fireproof grossed $33 million in 2008 and was about a fireman struggling to save his marriage. And in 2011, Courageous, followed the lives of five men as they resolved to be better dads and loving husbands.
I watched Courageous on DVD this past weekend for the first time. For some, the movie may be a bit too sermon-esque and too much like church. BUT…for the guy with the least bit of interest in being a better man for his family…this movie with hit some tender spots.
Men, we have written a life story thus far. It’s still incomplete. But it may include a failed marriage. Or two. My story does.
It may include some broken relationships with our kids. Things we screwed up and aren’t sure how to fix. I’ve been there.
Courageous shows examples of men that I can relate to and can see parts of myself. It’s almost like a Rocky movie. But in this case, we see these dads fail at fatherhood and then pick themselves up off the mat and do better in the next round.
When your kids talk about their dad…YOU…what stories do they tell?
Do they talk about great memories? Or do they speak of regrets and broken hearts?
None of us are perfect. Not in the past and we certainly won’t be in the future. More mistakes are coming our way…guaranteed.
But it’s not too late to change your story.
My oldest daughter (from marriage #1) is almost 25. Yet the past three years have been some of the best ever. My 19-year-old son (from marriage #2) was lucky because I had most of my major screw-ups before he could understand what was going on. But he still saw me try and fail at another marriage. And now, for my youngest daughter, I’m an absentee daddy not living in the home.
Men, we are called to be courageous. To be courageous leaders in our families. To be faithful husbands and loving fathers. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we plan. But that doesn’t change our calling.
In spite of my past mistakes and failings, I am pretty sure what my kids say about me when I’m not around. They may laugh about what I wear or how I sing or how goofy I act around their friends…
But if they are asked…
Who guides them and leads, but not in a pushy way? “My dad”
Who teaches them about life? “My dad”
Who encourages them to boldly follow their passions? “My dad”
Who protects them and gives them a safe place to rest? “My dad”
Who loves them unconditionally? “My dad”
Who sets an example to follow? “My dad”
That’s the story I want them to tell. That’s why I made a decision to start living a story worth telling.
Ding! Ding! That’s the bell ringing to start the next round. Being a great dad is fight. Living a better story is a decision you must make every day.
Mr. T would say, “I pity the fool who stands in the way of a man on a mission.”