Fatherhood in Focus

Fatherhood in Focus

This month, in honor of Father’s Day, we asked some hard-working dads about the unique challenges they’ve faced and their favorite things about fatherhood. See what they said!

Maurice Webb, adoptive dad of 4

Some of the unique challenges I faced when adopting my kids were making sure that I was fully present with them and reinforcing to them that “this is home,” and that they were safe in our house. I wanted to reassure them that they could be free and comfortable, knowing that they would not be uprooted again to a different foster home.

It’s so rewarding to see your kids develop their own personalities and live out the life lessons you have instilled in them. I also love having conversations with them about life and what they feel God wants them to do.

John Reynolds, dad of 4

We’re a busy household. We were blessed with four children in 28 months! (Do the math – that’s only three pregnancies!) Having four kids so close in age brings certain unique dynamics.

One thing we’ve found is that they’re all in cahoots when engaging in any kind of subterfuge. For example, when a mess is made, when someone has eaten someone else’s favorite food they just bought, etc., we ask, “Okay, who is responsible?” And, of course, no one is to blame…the mess somehow magically appeared and the food was eaten by an invisible monster!

They all tend to be each other’s friends, too, even to the exclusion of potential friendships outside the family. So, sometimes we find ourselves pushing them to branch out and explore new relationships. It’s okay, we tell them, to actually talk to other people!

I delight as their dad in the discovery of their individual personalities, the traits that make them unique. The challenge, of course, is to guide these traits in a productive direction (“train up a child in the way he should go,” right?). This is the calling, the joy, the misery at times, of parenting: the ups and downs, smiles and frowns, of getting a human being launched into the world.

Fatherhood makes me very thankful to God for the gift of faith, because raising (up!) successful, God-fearing people is indeed a faith-based endeavor!

John Adams, dad of 13

I was the only child of my mother, so having a large family with my wife was a blessing. It gave me opportunities to experience things I missed out on as a kid.

Being a father to 13 children wasn’t as hard as most people may think. We had fun times and we had difficult times. For the most part, though, it was fun times. I remember church and job picnics at amusement parks. I remember lots of toys and gifts for birthdays and Christmas. There was never a dull moment!

If I had to pick a challenge, I’d have to say it was that each of my children had their own different personality and, of course, they wanted to grow up fast and do their own thing.

It was important to me that I teach my kids responsibility, how to love and respect not only themselves, but also their mother and other adults. I kept on them about the importance of an education! I wanted to make sure that they knew right from wrong, and no matter what, always tell the truth and try your best to do the right thing.

I wanted them to grow up, be successful, and have their own families that they could be proud of, just like I am of mine.

Michael Woods, dad of 4 sons

One of the biggest challenges I face is to be present for my boys emotionally and mentally, not just physically. I enjoy watching them grow! It has helped me continually work on growing spiritually myself, since I’m a constant role model for them. The thing I love the most about raising boys is being able to mold and shape them into godly men who will one day lead their own families.

Patrick Abec, dad of 4 daughters

Fatherhood to me is about learning and leaving a legacy. A while back, I asked each of my daughters (ages 7, 9, 11, and 13) what they think they’ll remember most about me as they get older. A common theme they all agreed on was that Daddy yells a lot! (Of note, I responded that it’s all part of my research for my eventual parenting book that I will title, “My Kids Only Hear Me When I Yell: Volume 1.”)

Earlier this year, I went to the doctor because of some chest pain I was having and a week later, I was in surgery. Afterwards, the doctor told us that I had a 4-inch, 100% blockage in the main artery of my heart – needless to say, I could have died on a number of occasions!

This got me thinking. I didn’t want my daughters to remember me by my yelling. In my prayers for guidance and wisdom on being a good father to them, one thing I asked is to be effective in communication – talking to them in a way that they’ll receive it (and, at the same time, not yelling when I am angry – even in heated situations!). And, it’s an area where I feel like I’m improving.

As fathers, I believe it matters what legacy we leave for our kids and to be committed to learning along the way. I think we need to ask our children individually about what they think they’ll remember about their childhood and, however they respond, good or bad, be willing to take it into consideration and make adjustments.

One of the goals my wife and I have always had is to create memorable experiences for our children, to go to new places, try new things, and create lasting happy memories. That’s the legacy I’m going to leave for my daughters!

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