Last Father's Day began like others before it. The sun had barely risen, and my sons, Trent and Troy, were bouncing around our bedroom, urging me to open my present. Groggy and not entirely pleased at having my Sunday slumber cut short, I sat up to greet the day — and my happy boys.
"You gotta open it, Dad!"
Clearly, this task required immediate attention, so I tore into the box to discover a beautiful watch. I loved it, of course, and told them so, but I later thought that their wide smiles and enthusiasm were the best part of the gift. They were so excited to give their father a present! I was reminded again how great it is to be a dad, how privileged I am to join my wife, Jean, in the task of raising Trent and Troy.
The Balancing Act
But sometimes we dads get distracted from that privilege. Personally, I'm not immune to getting wrapped up in my work. Although I believe I'm right where God wants me, I still struggle with balancing my responsibilities as president of Focus on the Family and the needs of my own family. How can I avoid being consumed by the good work of family ministry at the expense of my ministry at home?
I often think that a big part of wisdom is in one's ability to glimpse the end while still at the beginning. When I'm old and the boys are grown, will I look back on how I raised them with a sense of peace? Or will I wonder what could have been?
What Matters Most
When I think back on my life as a dad so far, here are the things I remember:
Hearing the boys' first cries and holding Trent and Troy tight, scared to death I might drop them, but knowing I never would.
First steps, first words. The pain of leaving on ministry trips; the joy of airport reunions. Budget vacations. Cars that won't run; boys that won't stop.
Skinned knees, bloody noses and a DVD player that somehow caught fire. Teaching my boys how to ride their bikes. Ball games, board games and flashlight tag.
And, best of all, seeing my sons' hearts open to the Gospel.
Time will not scatter these memories. And if in the end these moments with my boys will matter the most, I must make the most of our time together today.
To the dads reading this, I hope your memories will be filled with the energy and excitement of life with your kids. Happy Father's Day!