Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm going to be a great dad!

My friend Adam and I just watched the movie Courageous.  I definitely think that it's a movie that all dads should watch.  Right from the beginning I was hooked.  The opening scene is of a man stopping for gas.  As he turns around to pick up the window washing squeegee someone runs over and steals his truck.  This man turns around and climbs onto the window and starts fighting with the car thief.  Barely hanging on he causes the truck to swerve and finally crash into a tree.  The thief runs out and gets away.  But what happened next was incredible.  The man is thrown to the ground and crawls over to the truck.  Another car had stopped and told him to stay still and not worry about the truck.  He responds that he isn't worried about the truck as he opens the back door to check on his baby boy in the car seat.  It reminded me of the only happy memory I have of my biological father.  We were at a BBQ and swimming.  I remember going over to the pool when no one was watching and trying to jump into a round inflatable (I'll admit it - I haven't grown out of that adventure yet!).  I missed as the inflatable floated away and I sank to the bottom of the pool.  The next thing I remember is my dad jumping in the pool, fully clothed, and pulling me out.  Strangely, I remember his watch, of all things, still on his wrist and not working after.  I remember that my father saved me without concern for his belongings.

As the movie went on there were more encounters with dads (mostly all police officers) and their kids.  Another powerful moment is when two of the cops were driving while off duty.  The one dad had his daughter in the back and they were waiting for the other cop to come out of a building.  The daughter's favorite song came on the radio and she got out of the car and begged her dad to dance with her.  The dad was more concerned about what other people would think and he refused.  He told her that he was "dancing with her in his heart", but from inside the car he just watched.

There were more examples as these fathers began to really understand their roles as dads and as husbands.  As I watched more, I saw more and more how important it is for fathers to be their for their children; not just provide a roof over their heads.  Dads need to BE THERE for their kids.  Do things that their kids want to do, even if they hate it.  Earlier we watched an episode of the new show Person of Interest.  In it a character talks about how his dad walked out on him but always send him $200 a week.  One day he went and found his dad who had a new family.  The dad just gave him another $200.  The character said that he didn't want the money.  What he wanted was a dad.

My biological father was a drunk, abusive man - not a good role model.  But yet, that one memory of him can still bring me to tears because I know that on some level, at some point, he must have cared - even if it was just a little.  I have an amazing man that I now call my dad from when I was adopted.  He took me out back and taught me to throw a ball.  He taught me to ride a bike.  We went camping and took day trips together.  He came to my concerts when I was in the band in school.  My dad was present.  Since I've been coming to Kenya he has been incredible!  He's been so supportive of my decisions in every aspect.  I call my dad and start telling him current events here and he knows most of it because he's keeping on up Kenyan news.  Sometimes he knows more than I do and I've been living here for nearly 6 months now!

While I'm definitely not a father yet, nor will I be anytime in the near future, I can honestly say that I look forward to fatherhood.  I know that when I have children they will be my priority.  In that first scene two police officers were talking about how the man wouldn't let go of that steering wheel when his truck was being stolen.  The one asked the other, "there are a lot ways he could have died there.  Would you have kept holding that wheel?".  Such a thought provoking question!  Look from a different angle.  Your child;s life may not be in danger as your car is being stolen, but his heart is in danger!  Will you hold onto it so tight that you are willing to sacrifice anything for him?  What I mean is will you sacrifice your time to spend it with your son?  Will you sacrifice your pride and dance with your daughter in the park?  Will you sacrifice your income to live below your means so that you can be present with your wife and kids?  Ultimately, will you sacrifice your life to save your child's?

Up until a few years ago the thought of having my own kids scared me half to death.  I was filled with fear that I would turn out like my biological father.  But after taking the time to heal those wounds in my heart, I now know that my kids will grow up with a dad who is there.  Not just financially or physically there.  A father who is there emotionally and spiritually too.  I know that I won't be a perfect dad; I'll make my share of mistakes, but I'll be a great dad when that time comes.

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