What Was Your Dad Like? - How to Be a Great Dad

What Was Your Dad Like?

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” (Proverbs 17:6, NIV)

When my dad was two years old, the youngest of four children, his father abandoned the family.

As a little boy my dad never felt the scratch of a father’s whiskers, never heard a father’s soothing voice read him a bedtime story, never tossed a ball in the backyard, never had a dad to tousle his hair or wrestle on the living room floor, and never heard a truck door shut in the driveway signaling that his dad was home from work and about to reenter the family orbit.

When Dad became a man, he decided to break the cycle and take a different path. But he had a problem. What it means to be a godly man, husband, and father was unexampled to him.

He was left to “guess” how to be a loving husband to our mother and a dad who makes a difference to his four boys.

It didn’t turn out well for Dad. Although he wanted to break the cycle, he didn’t. He was not discipled and, so, he misunderstood the gospel. He thought Christianity was a task, performing to please God. He believed in Jesus, but from afar.

As a result, my dad and mom got burned out. We de-churched when I was in the tenth grade. They never went back.

Soon, the wheels started to come off the wagon. I quit high school in the middle of my senior year. My next brother followed in my footsteps. He eventually died of a heroin overdose. My other two brothers have had more than their fair share of struggles.

What makes it so confusing is that my parents were really nice people. My dad was a good man. A man of integrity. And he had a great sense of humor. He was also a great husband. He treated my mother with respect. They had so much fun together.

My dad never saw it coming. What happened to my dad and our family should never have happened.

But it did.

Reflection and Application

  • What was your dad like?
  • How can a man desire to be a great dad, yet still fail?
  • If your dad tried—even if he failed, have you thanked him for trying? This Father’s Day, why not unilaterally forgive your hurt, resentment, or grudge and thank your dad for trying.

From the Book: