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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I’m not big on holidays much anymore, they seem to come and go and roll along as just another day on the calendar, which means I don’t get too wound up about them. My children honored me this year with a card for Father’s Day, which was much better than an old tie or a can of chew. The front of the card had this expression printed on the front; “You’re out there every day being the best dad you can be.”

I turned the card open and read their notes that they took the time to inscribe on the inside and closed it quietly, setting it next to me in the pew at church. I didn’t say much other than, “thank you”, and let it go at that, but that card has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now, and although I appreciate the sentiment I’m really not sure I’m being the best dad I can be.

Life as a divorced parent isn’t easy, although I have to give some measure of credit to the fact that after my former spouse and I got past the arguments over money, we have this amazing relationship where we both continue to support each other and try to always keep the needs and expectation of our children in the forefront. I know that this might seem strange to many people who see us talking, but it really isn’t worth our time to be bitter when we still have three children to raise. I don’t ever give her nearly enough credit for the job she has done with my limited help at times.

To me, being a dad is more about finding that fine line between cheerleader, strict disciplinarian and mentor. It isn’t always easy at all, in fact most of the time it is a delicate dance that more often than not reinforces that I’m a poor dancer. As hard as I try to be that best dad, I’m fully aware that I fall far short of reaching that lofty goal. I miss too many things. There are ballgames and banquets that go on while I spend the time at work. I forget to text and call after many functions just to see how things go. I’m not always there when someone needs gas money, wants to discuss the latest high school drama, or needs to learn how to hit a sliding curve ball. I’m the dad who comes to activities and feels a little uncomfortable because I don’t know many of the kids’ friends, and even at times continually reintroduce myself to people I’ve already met because I just don’t remember the names and faces as well as I once could.

There is never enough time to spend with them, which many of my friends probably find hard to understand and one of the reasons I’ve never been really excited about going out and dating. I would much rather spend precious time at supper somewhere or those stolen moments during coffee time after church with my children. Maybe that seems a bit selfish of me, and perhaps people perceive it as being unsociable, but even those small segments of time seem to fly by like mere seconds to me. The minute they are gone I start looking ahead to the next time I will share their company. Best Dad ever? No, certainly not by a long shot.

I have been extremely fortunate that my children surround themselves with good people. I have never had to worry about them being lured in by activities that steal so many of our young people because they have learned to be strong individuals within themselves, which is a lesson that I’m not sure I have ever quite mastered myself. The fact that they show up at church every Sunday morning, they all try to do their best in school, enjoy sports just for the fun of it and are able to show compassion and kindness to others makes my job as Dad pretty easy, and are just a few of the traits they have that make me proud when one of their friends notes that I’m “your dad”. Now don’t get me wrong, my children have their own quirks and at times are completely undesirable to be around, but they never cease to amaze me with their wit and memory as well as their strong desire to adhere to family traditions.

They are way more understanding with me than I am with them at times. I wish I could give them more than just my time, but most days I think they know that I feel like I’m treading water at every turn. Many times I wonder if the time I spend working with my “adopted” FFA and youth group kids takes away from the role I have as a Dad, but there are also times when one of my own kids calls to tell me that someone they met knew their dad and they seem to think that is kind of cool. Being a dad is really one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but it seems to have come with the most rewards. As I watch my own kids and the hundreds others that I’ve helped along the way grow up and take on the world I’m proud of how far each one of them have come. It’s always heartwarming to see them succeed farther than I ever thought possible.

I may never win a medal for being the best dad in the world, which probably is good because to be honest I would either pawn it or melt it down in order to give my kids things that I don’t have the means to now. I just hope that at the end of my journey they understand that I did the best I could, even when the things I missed kept me up at night fretting over it, or that it wasn’t that I didn’t want them to have the things the desired and wanted, but I just didn’t have the means. In all honesty, my wish, is that at the end they will look back and remember the times that we were able to spend together and know that those were the best moments of my life and that no matter what I’ve loved them more than they will ever know. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.