I was blessed to have two parents to love and raise me. However, my father passed quite a while ago. I did not have the opportunity to interact with, and understand his role as a father, from the perspective of my adult self. So it wasn’t until I became a mother and, with my husband, lived through the adventures, celebrations and surprises of raising children, that I found a deep appreciation for the lessons a father can impart. My husband is a wonderful father. Watching him teach our children their important life lessons has also conveyed valuable information to me. There are four lessons in particular that I’ve learned from watching my husband fulfill his role as a father.
1. There’s no such thing as loving too much. My husband wanted to be a father to our children. Not necessarily their friend. Sometimes looking out for the best interest of someone you love requires telling them things they do not want to hear, including but not limited to: you’re grounded; that will not work; you are not being your best self. Loving completely can sometimes result in deep hurts and disappointments. Fortunately, where love flows freely and without condition, the toughest moments can be endured and the greatest disappointments are softened.
2. Your bank account is very important. Not for how much you earn, but for how much you spend. Generosity is a quality best taught through example. My husband believes money is nothing more than a tool that should be used to create a positive impact and memories. At times this philosophy meant fabulous gifts and trips, but it often translated into an active involvement in charities that help others. He made a point of bringing our kids into these efforts from an early age. Their participation spanned from attending black tie galas to manning ice cream booths at charity picnics. We all learned that touching someone’s heart or easing a problem lasts much longer than a dollar.
3. The best gift you can give to someone is the knowledge that you will always have their back. My husband made the word “father” synonymous with “stability” and “safety”. I don’t think we ever grow out of wanting to feel that we’re not alone in the world. To feel that there is always a safe place, and a person, who will look out for us. My kids and I have been given a platform that we can grow from, and take risks from, knowing there’s a net if we fall.
4. You need less in life than you think you do. My husband actually taught me this before we got married. Before I became a parent. At a point in our courtship, my husband told me the details involved in the dissolution of his first marriage. They were young, wounded, and interested in going their separate ways as quickly as possible. My husband believed a protracted negotiation over the division of property wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest. “There’s only 2 things I need in life”, he told me. His two things were his kids and his canoe. He took them both, left the rest and started over. Decades later he has built a life and a family. He became a successful and happy businessman, father, and husband.
He also became a great teacher.