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June 16, 2010

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Dad

Hey, I found one!

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"Kids don't believe in "later." So if you're never around right now so that you can provide a better life for them later, be careful."- Jonathan Acuff
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I'm unsure if it's true that 99% of fatherhood is showing up. What about doing a good job as a father? I'm certain that willingly or unwillingly, dads will have a drastic influence, for better or worse, over the life of their children.

Fatherhood is joy and a heavy weight. It's pride and reluctance and excitement. It's stamina and an entire life's work. Who knows a man who "showed up" better than his son? Strengths, weaknesses, preferences, all of it.

I know RJ Gorinski better than any other man, like, way more than Wikipedia and all of the innernets. That's a pretty powerful thing to lay claim to. As one privileged to such knowledge, what does it mean when I say "it was and is a genuinely good thing to be the son of RJG?"

What do I think of dad, tonight?
He rarely spoke directly on big life lessons. I never had "the talk" on a number of issues, sometimes when we should have. I know how he hates the awkward confrontation. But he also knew the low cost of talk.

I can say this. When the majority of my peers, sports heroes, Axl Rose, and all the rest of the world were screaming lots of things, dad was clearly, unmistakably "saying" the opposite. He respected his parents and his wife and women in general. He was fascinated by the natural world and his place in it. He had a healthy fear of God.

That's what his life told me.

Dad literally kicked my gluteal region over my shoulders, never for him and I don't think one time more or less than I needed it. Speaking of asses, he was usually quite careful with his words. Careful, but real. Many things I heard - we just didn't say those words - me and dad. He offered some comments on ignorance and what some words represented. It takes no words to teach a child the wisdom of sometimes holding your words.

What I can appreciate the most at this point is the delicate balance. Loving means doing your part and letting go. Working at stability and presence and provision for the children, sacrificing so much for them while not holding on too tightly. Not expecting perfection. Giving advice but not pushing it. Allowing lessons to happen when and where they need to.

The role is critical. But one man, one person, can only do so much. Like, how do you get a kid to understand the essential value of hard work without pushing them to rebellion or the foolishness of spending their entire life chasing the golden carrot?
I know there is no formula for this type of thing. But I do have a foundation of what worked for me growing up. I'm extremely thankful to know what a good dad looks like.

...And he saw these things, and they were impressed upon his heart.
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冠慧 said...
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Ann Kroeker said...

Great tribute to a man who prepared you for life! Thanks for contributing to the Father's Day writing project, and inviting us into one of your most important relationships.

Sam Van Eman said...

Saw this on the "Lego Lessons on Parenting (and Leadership)" list!