This morning, as I climbed into the shower and started going over my personal gratitude list, my kids came to mind. I’ve always asked myself and wondered how I can be the best father I can possibly be for them. Yesterday I put out a question on social media: “In your opinion, what makes a great father truly great?” Most of the answers were about the father simply being there and being present and providing. It made me think of the idea of God that I was raised with. I was brought up and taught to believe that God is our father, the father of all mankind.
I still pray every day. For a long time, when I was going through rough, dark times, I felt abandoned and alone. I stopped praying and connecting. Call God what you want to-supreme energy, everlasting light, the Oneness we are all connected to, or by the name any religion on this earth calls God. I choose to pray to a loving, wise, all-knowing, father in heaven. Most likely because that is the idea I was raised with and most comfortable with. I then thought, “What makes God the perfect father?”
He created this world and gave us life with the opportunity of experience. He is always there for us whether we want him there or not. With all of the evil, bad, harmful, hurtful, painful, devastating, destructive, negative, life-altering things present in this world he created for us, we can find comfort in knowing that the opposites of all of these things also exist.
God allows for failures, successes, and learning. It is part of the life experience. Dermot Buffini says, “We become successful in life by overcoming adversity, so why do we try to remove it from our children’s lives?” His brother, Brian Buffini agrees: “Isn’t that so true? If we wrap our children in cotton and protect them from every knock and scrape, they won’t ever develop the grit and guts they need to survive and thrive when they encounter difficulties.”
I think what makes a great father truly great is the ability to provide what is needed, not wanted, and then allowing his children to figure things out on their own. There is a lot of wisdom in this. It is tempting to rush ahead of our children and brush away all of the possibilities of difficulties, problems, and potential harm, but by doing so, as parents, we do them a disservice.
By allowing his children to figure things out on their own the father allows his children to develop moxy, intelligence, wisdom, strength, and the ability to connect with others and ask for help. The children learn things in their life journey like love, kindness, forgiveness, warmth, gratitude, humility, the importance of focus, consistency, strength, personal routines, and boundaries. As children, we can learn so much by being left to ourselves to learn about and develop ourselves the best we can.
As a father it is difficult to know what is right and wrong or good and bad at all times for each, individual, unique child. It is difficult to have and keep balance in all things at all times. It makes me think of the chaos theory and how if I just relax and let things be and simply be present that things will automatically work themselves out in the end, no matter how chaotic they may seem in the present moment. We try so hard to control everything when the only thing we can control as individuals in our own minds, and even that is a huge challenge at times.
As I finished my shower, and my personal gratitude list, I realized I had never wished the God I believe in a Happy Father’s day. The perfect father, in all his wisdom, probably knew, when he created this world for us and allowed us this life, that we would love him and hate him. He probably knew what pain we would endure and have to overcome and learn to cope with or alleviate from our lives. He probably knew what we were in for, but knew that by allowing us to go through it we would develop, become, and learn to create for ourselves through such methods as visualization, gratitude, prayer, connections with others, and meditation. He probably knew what we were in for, but also knew it was needed for us to grow and become and improve.
All the years I spent hating him were wasted. I spent years refusing to communicate with him or even think of him. I read books and participated in discussions about atheism, not wanting to believe in him.
Looking back, I now realize the things he allowed to happen in my life that caused me so much pain and anguish were eventually for my greater good. I almost didn’t make it through those dark times, but through the miracles of the presence and connections of other people I was blessed to have in my life, I did make it. I learned to overcome. I learned to cope. I learned to heal and how to really live. I learned tools, tips, tricks, methods, routines, and practices from others which I strive to share with those in my life any way I can, hoping others will somehow learn from my failures and mistakes and successes. I hope others can learn from my lessons without having to experience the pain I did while learning them. It has been said that a stupid man never learns from his mistakes. A smart man does learn from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. After spending my first 40 years being a stupid man, and suffering the consequences from it, I am now trying to be wise and somehow inspire others (especially my kids and loved ones) to do the same so they won’t have to suffer by making the same mistakes and having the same failures that I did.
God was always there. He loved me despite me. He always blessed me with what I needed, despite the fact I never earned it, worked for it, or even wanted it. That which I want is entirely up to me to acquire and create for myself.
Some of us are blessed to still have our fathers around. Some of us may not want our fathers around. Some of us don’t have fathers still alive today. Others have fathers who have made mistakes, hated themselves, and removed themselves from the lives of their children with the false belief that their children would be better off without them in their lives. Some of us may never have met or known our father. No matter our situation, no matter what we have experienced so far, we are not alone unless we choose to be, the future is as bright as we allow ourselves to create it to be, and everything that has happened or ever will happen has a purpose behind it that is geared and focused toward our greater good, if not soon, then eventually. These things I do believe. When in dark, difficult times, these things seem like a joke, but after passing through the darkness, experiencing the pain, and being blessed with everything earned from going through such things, it is likely that we will all come to the same conclusions.
This life, this world, this experience, is but a brief moment in time which passes quickly and leaves us better off, if we so choose.
Happy Father’s Day God. Thanks for being the father we need instead of the father we all think we want. Thanks for the help we never see or recognize but that is always, somehow, there. Thank you for letting us learn so much on our own and blessing us with the opportunity to learn to connect with others and network and ask for help while we strive to help others we may be able to help. Thank you for the health and healing we do experience, and the knowledge that we could be so much more worse off than we are today. Thank you for the life we do have and the ability we have to create a day more beautiful and enjoyable each and every day through things like visualization, dreaming, desires, meditation, and by the sweat of our own brow. Thank you for the opportunity we have to work hard and earn our blessings. Thank you for the opportunity of this life and all of the beauty in it that is inter-dispersed, sometimes disguised, awaiting us to discover it, and thank you for the ugliness, difficulties, despair, anguish, and pain, that allows us to recognize and enjoy the beauty, that much more. Thank you for the opportunity to learn by doing. Thank you for the failures we learn from and for the opportunity each of us has in this life to help others avoid the pain we have experienced, if they so choose. Thank you and Happy Father’s Day.
These are my thoughts and ideas and you don’t have to agree with them. I only hope something you read resonated with you and benefited you in some way. Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there. May we ask ourselves each and every day how we can be a better father, and then go and do it.