Written by: Phil Zinck
When Handy (my pet name for Mandy) asked me to write something for Father’s Day, my initial response was “Sure!! Love to!!” Then, after the thrill of being asked to contribute to Mandy’s famous blog subsided, my elation turned to “oh boy, what do I say?” I have almost 28 years of fatherhood under my belt, partnering with my best friend, Doretta Zinck, in raising two fantastic young ladies who are now equally fantastic adult women. With this journey comes a bucket full of experiences and stories. God, what do you want me to pull out of this bucket and share with the world?
Recently I was speaking to a young dad after Sunday morning church. In the due course we got around to talking about our children. He has two very young daughters and asked me how old my daughters are. I told him that they are now adult women to which he replied,
“Oh, so now you’re done!”
I said “Pardon?”
As I rained blows down upon him (metaphorically speaking – Seinfeld reference for those not so cultured) I realized that God had just presented to me my Father’s Day message to all of the young and soon-to-be dads out there . . .
You and I will never be “done”.
As long as you and I have a heartbeat we will be an influence on our children. And when our hearts finally stop beating, we will leave a legacy lived through the lives of our children. And their children. And so on. I’m talking about an influence, a legacy, of success or failure – not as measured by what we do, where we are lauded by society for the great things that we accomplish or diminished because we were not able to climb the ladder and reach the holy grail of human expectations, but REAL success or failure as measured in who we are, to live as men of God, striving to model His character into every part of who we are. And in this pursuit there is no schedule, no deadlines, and no end.
We will never be “done.”
And as if that’s not challenging enough, we only get one crack at it. No do-overs, no restart, no CTRL-ALT-DEL.
To be the best you can be as a dad will be your ultimate challenge, your greatest adventure. So, that’s it – that’s all I got. Good Luck!!
Just kidding . . .
I don’t claim to have all of the answers – just ask my daughters. However I have distilled my bucket of experiences in raising our daughters down to 3 essentials for a dad in his pursuit to be the best dad he can. I need to keep this blog as brief as I can, so have only highlighted what I feel are the most challenging examples of each.
1. Be Human
Guys, there is only one perfect Father, and He is our greatest cheerleader in our life pursuit to model Him in our relationship with our children. But even He already knows that we’re going to mess things up at times, make bad decisions, react poorly to situations, say things we shouldn’t, be who we try not to be.
And when our children are a part or witness of it, our first reaction must be to acknowledge to them what is already obvious, asking for their forgiveness. Few signs of strength are greater than a dad willing to humble himself with his family through repentance. And even fewer actions will garner their respect and admiration. Do it now, while they are young, and it will become the foundation for an everlasting, healthy and rewarding relationship with your children.
2. Be Honest
Be a man of unwavering principle.
Do the right thing, always, unconditionally.
If the cashier mistakenly gives you back more change that you’re owed, don’t go home bragging about it but let your children brag on you for how you returned the money. And in doing so you will be able to brag on them someday when the same thing happens to them (legacy in action).
You’re bright; I’m sure you get the idea . . .
3. Be Holy
We are nothing if not for Jesus Christ. We will not – cannot – make it through this life as a father pursuing REAL success without absolute and total dependence on Him as our source of hope, on the Holy Spirit to galvanize our resolve to model the cause of Christ for our children and on His word to show us what that is to look like.
Let your children see this in every part of you. In your worship, your personal prayer and devotion, your obedience in your ministry calling, your relationships – every part. Our children are much more perceptive than we would like to think; if we as the spiritual head of our homes demonstrate a lack of commitment to living a life dedicated to the cause of Christ, why would we expect our children to be any different?
We will never be “done”. But together, with God, we can present ourselves to our children as examples of men pursuing hard to succeed in being the fathers that God desires us to be. There can be no greater legacy!!
Happy Father’s Day!
Phil thanks God everyday for His perfect life partner in Doretta Zinck and their two amazing daughters who are living their lives as young women desiring to serve Him in their own unique and special way. Forever Nova Scotian, living in Newfoundland, Phil uses his own blog to share words of encouragement, with the occasional dusting of humour http://phlipper1963.tumblr.com. He is all about the bass, donairs (as only Nova Scotia can!) and all things Leafs!