I never really knew how important fathers and men were until I read Don Miller's book, Father Fiction: Chapters For a Fatherless Generation---a book about the impact of dads and what happens to kids when they grow up without one. I am grateful to have so many great father-figures in my life.
I'll start with my dad, Mitch. Though he's not my biological dad, he will always and forever be my dad. From the time he and my mom got married, I was his daughter---he's always been there for me; I know I can count on him for anything. From him I've learned to be an individual--to be strong and take crap from no one. He's taught me that nothing comes easy, and a little hard work pays off in the long run. Next, my Grandpa Kinzer. Though he's not a father to me, he is worthy of celebration on this day. I don't remember a game, meet, performance, tournament, or concert without my grandpa. He came to everything! I could always hear him cheering for me during races and games. My grandpa has also taught me to work hard, appreciate family, and have a little fun. Next--my dad, Dave. Though we haven't spent as much time together as each would like, I have learned an important lesson from him: to keep God at the center---to make Him my rock, to study His word and let it be a guide for my life. This brings me to another dad---the most important--my heavenly Father who has never and will never abandon me. Who offers me the greatest gift of all: grace.
Even though today is a day of celebrating our dads and father-figures, death, divorce/separation, absence due to military service, or the inability to have children make this day tough for some. And we should be sensitive to this---we should pray for those who struggle with this holiday. This brings me to my next dad....my father in-law, Denny.
This is Nate's favorite picture of him and his dad. Nate's dad died 18 years ago, so I never had the chance to meet him. But I've heard loads of stories, and I know his kids well enough to know that he was an incredible father. Even though I've never met him, I celebrate him today for being an amazing father to his three kids---for helping to shape my husband into the man he has become. I know that he would be proud of Nate.
And last, but not least...my husband. My husband is not a father---but has been a father-figure for so many kids. He loves our two nieces and one nephew like his own children, and he's been a strong male role-model for so many of his students. Today, a student of his wished him a happy father's day and said Nate was like a second father to him. I am so blessed to be married to someone who makes this big of an impact on kids. Though today makes me sad that I can't celebrate him as a father to our own children, it also makes me hopeful that we will one day have this chance.
This holiday is technically set aside to honor fathers, but I think it should be set aside to honor men. Fathers are not the only people who have an impact on kids---there are many fatherless kids (kids without dads or kids growing up with distant, uninvolved dads) who NEED a positive father-figure. Fathers or father-figures just offer something that a woman can't. Kids need dads or men who are willing to act like dads to teach them, support them, love them, help them grow, and lead them to Christ. So---thanks to all you guys out there who are fathering your own kids or who are providing a father-figure to kids in need.