One of these days (sooner than I’d like to admit) my kids are going to be out of the house and have kids of their own. And while I’ll be looking back on my parenting years as a distant memory, my children’s hearts will no doubt be filled with many memories of me as a father as well.
My desire is that I would not only leave fond memories and an example worth following but that I would ultimately leave a legacy of what true fatherhood was meant to be. I desire to fulfill my role to its fullest. Here are some things I hope my children keep in mind when they remember me as their father.
Note: This is my personal list. What does yours look like?
1. He knew how to have fun.
I hope that one day I’ll look back on the parenting years as some of the most fun years of our family’s lives. I hope that my kids will do the same. Because we didn’t endure life together, we enjoyed it.
2. He gave us lots of physical affection.
Kids need lots of affection. Dads often struggle to give enough of it. May my kids never doubt my love because I failed to show it in one of the simplest and most powerful ways possible— physical touch.
3. He spent time with us.
I want their childhood to be filled with innumerable memories of times when Dad said “Yes” to them and their requests for his time and attention. Times when we played together, wrestled together, laughed together, served together, and simply lived this thing we call life together. Because Dad chose to be present, wanted to be involved, and wasn’t too busy to simply be there.My kids need a daddy to look up to, but they also need a father to respect.
4. He knew how to be both our father and daddy.
My kids need a daddy to look up to, but they also need a father to respect. Sometimes being a dad means you get to be your kids’ best friend and hero. Other times, it means you have to be the disciplinarian and ‘the bad guy.’ A balance of both is essential. May my kids remember me as both their father and daddy.
5. He was patient and kind.
Kids mess up and need regular correction and guidance. May I always remember that my kids are just that— kids, whom God has given me to prepare for life. And may they always remember that I was patient and kind towards them, even in those times when I had to be firm. May they remember my correction and discipline for being done out of love and understanding, not out of anger or frustration.
6. He was helpful.
May they remember seeing me doing the dishes for Mom, helping them with their homework, and serving the family in any way that was needed. I hope they remember me for being approachable. May they always remember me for being present.
7. He was in love with our mother.
Dad loved Mom, and it was never something that they had to question. Dad made his love obvious in the way that he spoke to her, kissed her, treated her, and prioritized her.
8. He loved serving others.
He lived a generous life towards others in need, and he encouraged us to do the same. My dad made a difference in the lives of others by following the example of Jesus.
9. He loved me unconditionally.
Whether we were having fun or getting in trouble, we never questioned Dad’s love. Because he regularly told us…and because he regularly showed us.
10. He loved God.
I am a man of faith and I want my kids to see that. I want them to know that is why my life was focused on serving the Lord through serving others. I want them to think that their father was a difference maker in his family, his church, and his community.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think you’ll remember most about me as your parent?”