This I Believe

Robert - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on June 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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A Good Father

I believe that a good father is one that cares for his children so much, that he sacrifices without wincing, loves unconditionally, teaches often, and protects always. I have one of those fathers and I am very lucky. Throughout my life my father didn’t just do what a father was supposed to do. He went above and beyond that. Instead of telling my sister and I that he loved us many times, he would show us day after day and year after year. When I was young my Dad drank like so many do because of stress at their jobs. One night my Dad made a mistake and that same night was given a choice. Many men would have chosen the drink. My Dad chose his family and quit the drink. Even during that time, deep down, I knew that he loved us more than himself. Growing up, I watched him struggle to be the best husband and father he could be. I saw him on days when he made mistakes but I also saw him on days when he shined through. When I got married, I gave my Dad a chain watch and told him this gift was not nearly enough for all he did but that I was grateful for him and that I hoped I would be as good a Dad as he was. The woman I married never knew her real father that well. She was taken from him for good reason when she was just a couple years old. Her father had chosen the opposite path that my father had chosen. Years later, we met her father. I could see that his choices tore him apart over the years. After meeting him, I was reminded of what a good father I had and I thought about what it means to be a good father. My Dad has something in common with my wife. His father too had left him when he was a baby. My Dad never knew his father yet to me he was the best father a son could ever ask for. I always wondered where he got those skills from. I knew that despite his father not being there, he had a family that raised and loved him just as much as my family loves me. My wife and I are having a baby and now it is my turn to be a father. I don’t know if I will ever be as good a Dad to my son as my Dad was to me but I know that I had a good one to learn from and that gives me confidence in myself to be a good father. In a few months my Dad will graduate to the roll of Grandfather. He is excited beyond words and lights up whenever we tell him about what our son is doing to Mom’s belly. I believe my son is a gift to me but he is also a tribute to my Dad. Finally I can show my Dad how much I love him by allowing him to bask in the light of his grandson. This, I believe, the man I have described, is what a good father is.