As a new father, it has caused me to think back on the things that my dad did for me that really meant something to me.
One of the most meaningful things for me as simply this. He showed up.
I am the middle of 4 kids. I have an older, twin and younger sister. Basically, I was surrounded by girls. Even our pets were mostly female till we got my dog when I was in high school. We were all heavily involved in extracurricular activities like soccer, tennis, cheerleading, 4-H, band, choir etc, etc. The point is, we were busy.
During elementary school, my father was also going through his doctoral program. He started when my little sister was born and finished the year she turned 7. We knew he was busy. He was a full-time professor at the college in town and he had papers to grade and work to do, but he always showed up.
My father didn’t play soccer when he was younger and we bug him about not being able to play anything but the radio; however, he always showed up. I cannot remember a soccer game or a concert that my dad missed. It didn’t matter if he had the world riding on his shoulders, there was nothing that was going to keep him from being involved in his kid’s lives, and that commitment left a huge impression on me.
As a young father now, I feel the pressures of work and my constantly fighting the urge to use the excuse that “I’m too busy.” The real lesson for me is that we make time for what we believe is important.
My father resolved to be faithful, not just to my mother, but also to his kids as well. He didn’t just put food on the table, he showed up in our lives. He didn’t always understand what he was watching, but that wasn’t the point. The point was he was making an effort to prove to his kids that we meant something to him. He was committed to watching us and helping us succeed.
I’m a songwriter and have been writing since I was a kid. My first gig was in college at a local coffee shop in town. My father was there. A few weeks ago, I had a gig at an outdoor festival. My parents, who live about 50 min away, drove over for my 50 min set just to hear me play.
Faithfulness is remaining loyal. It’s showing up even when it’s understood that it would be inconvenient. As a father now, I want to instill in my daughter and my future children that I’m in this for the long haul. I am never too busy for them. I believe that as a man, I am called first to be faithful to God, then my wife, then children, then whatever vocation I have. If I ever switch that order, there will be issues.
Our kids need to feel the support of fathers who show up. When I say we must show up, we need to be more than just physically there. We need to be invested, involved and interested. They are the greatest legacy we can ever leave to this world.
As a dad, Show Up.