Father’s Day was a bittersweet day for me. While I love seeing my children with my husband and remembering them as young children, and now, watching my son with his baby daughter, I really, really miss my daddy.
I was blessed to have a father who was wise, strong, funny, giving, compassionate, loving, and so much more. He put others before himself and lived a life that modeled his Savior. He was good not only to me, but to others. Although I learned so much from him while I was growing up, in the last 25+ years I’ve wished many times that I’d had more time with him. Cancer took my good father much too soon.
While many had, or still have, a dad like mine, others didn’t. Perhaps you aren’t able to relate at all to the concept of a good father because that wasn’t your experience, and you wonder why these words apply to you. I believe we all can learn from the attributes of a good father and apply them to forward motion in our own lives.
Here are a few good father attributes that are applicable for all of us:
Patient – Not many people today are patient. They want what they want and they want it right now. Patience doesn’t come naturally to most of us so it is a quality that must be practiced until it becomes second nature.
Compassionate – As I engage with the world, I encounter many compassionless people. Perhaps they are without compassion because they never experienced it, but by imagining yourself in another’s shoes for even a few hours, you begin to see life from a different perspective and sprout seeds of empathy and tenderness.
Wise – Some feel wisdom is a quality you are born with or you aren’t. However, the wise are those who seek wisdom, who make an effort to learn and grow in wisdom. Those who are wise learn from mistakes and take the time to assess the motivations of their own actions and reactions as well as those of others. Wisdom is much more than academic learning. It involves perception and discernment.
Encourages – Everyone needs encouragement at times, even the most outwardly confident and secure. So much in life tears us down. That’s why we all need to encourage and be encouraged. Begin now to cultivate the habit of pointing out positives in others, recognizing when they need encouragement, and providing words that elevate and affirm.
Honest – Honesty is a quality that is lacking in our society today. It seems to be much more prevalent to do what you can get by with and hope you don’t get caught. But honesty matters because when someone has a pattern of dishonesty, they can’t be trusted. My grandfather had a saying, “Tell the truth and you don’t have to remember what you said.” Make honesty a priority. Not only will it simplify your life, it strengthens your reputation.
Teaches by example – We’ve all heard the phrase “do as I say and not as I do,” but expecting others to strive for something you don’t model is rarely effective. We all learn, whether positively or negatively, from the actions of others. That’s why it’s important for your walk to mirror your talk.
Admits mistakes – The current trend in our world is to blame others for your mistakes. In a climate where it is rare for anyone to admit an error, it’s refreshingly honest to admit your mistakes. While it’s hard to do, taking ownership of your shortcomings strengthens relationships and encourages others to do the same.
Expresses love – In the busyness of life, people often forget to express love, but years ago, I learned to always say “I love you” when parting from family members, even if only for a quick trip to the store. You never know what unexpected incident waits down the road, and I want the last words on my lips to be words of love.
Embraces faith – I am increasingly aware of those who do not believe in anyone beyond self. They feel every difficulty in life is the result of a personal failing and they have to handle whatever the situation is in their own strength. How tragic for those who go through life without hope.
My father was a man of faith who modeled the teachings of Jesus Christ. How blessed I am to have learned from my father’s faith, and then, to have come to a personal faith in Christ. While I miss the love and support of my earthly father, I’m thankful for the omnipresent support of my Heavenly Father.
“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.” Proverbs 20:7 NLT