The Privilege of Being a Father

On previous Father’s Days I have blogged about my own father or about the experience of becoming a stepfather after 40.

But yesterday and today as I received cards, phone calls, e-mails, and text messages I was thinking about what a privilege it is to be a father and to have some part of guiding and shaping young lives.

With the privilege, of course, comes an incredible responsibility. I’ve found that one of the great responsibilities is to filter all the ways in which I think I can help with children and grandchildren, and try to say and do only those things that are constructive.

It is so much easier to be destructive than it is to be constructive. You see, children–indeed families–can take quite a bit of time and effort. When trouble comes, the best course is often to listen and let people work things out. But when you just know the right thing for everyone to do, it’s so hard to keep quiet!

The fact is that we will all make many mistakes in the process, but I’ve made one observation when looking at my own parents and friends and relatives. It seems that those who simply care, and are willing to take the time, have a great deal of success in spite of mistakes. I know I have been mistaken time after time. I take great comfort from the number of truly wonderful parents I know who also admit to mistakes.

We’re not any of us perfect, but we can all try. We can all take some time. We can all care. That is both our greatest privilege and greatest responsibilty.

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