Fatherhood is an undiscovered journey. It is an exciting trek that takes you to unknown places where no father has ever gone before. Fatherhood means that I am unique and every father should think of themselves as unique.
As a father of six children, I learned that fatherhood is not drudgery. It’s filled with excitement, challenges and surprises. The journey through the infant tears, toddler years and teen metamorphosis provide a lifetime of memories. To say fatherhood is anything other than a breathtaking rollercoaster ride —as I experience it—lessens the essence of the journey. The rollercoaster ride is full of animation, change, dips, twists and turns. Around every learning curve, I come face-to-face with unknown adventures that challenge me as father and yet no one can tell me it is not a labor of love.
As a father, it dawned on me that fathers do not come with an instruction manual. If you think fatherhood is automatic—here’s some relief—it’s not. Fatherhood takes effort. It is not so much about biological ability to produce children as it is about purpose and identity as a father. Fatherhood is not a choice for me as a man, it is inherent in my nature as Dr. Myles Munroe aptly describes in his book, The Fatherhood Principle. Therefore whether married or unmarried, God prepares men with the responsibility to be fathers.
Knowing that fatherhood is in my nature, I’ve delightfully discovered on this journey that my children posses in their unique personality and character some remnant ability and unrealized dreams I once had. In the thralls of parenting, recognizing and cultivating that special brilliance in each of my children has been funny, scary and intriguing and not without questions of my ability. What a joy is it to recognize that each child carries within them a part of you. Now, that is not to say, we don’t see flaws that need change, but the overall journey of fatherhood is about leaning and gaining skills as a father who sees.
As a father, I see my children as men and women taking opportunities I never had and use them like an elevator to go where they have never gone before. As a father, I see the past, present and future potential of my children and pray they will unleash, capped capabilities, latent talents, and unrealized strength. A father sees what their children are on the inside coming through on the outside. Fatherhood is seeing the wonder and the hope in their children and sees them for who they are no matter what. As a father I see myself in my children and have learned not to take myself too seriously on getting it right all the time.
Let me be the first to admit that fatherhood is not easy. If you think you won’t make mistakes, you will. If you believe fatherhood is a perfected science, it’s not. If you think you can’t be a great father, you can. Without a doubt, fathers are greater than they think. In fact, there is no other feeling greater than having each one my children lie in my bosom as infants. The overwhelming sense of intimacy is like no other experience. That feeling of intimacy on that level felt strange but I can remember thinking that I never wanted to lose that good feeling.
As a father and during the time of Father’s Day, there’s a special thought on my heart for fathers and sons from my book. The bond between fathers and sons are important. “The desires of a father for his son can be infinite. The journey from boyhood to [fatherhood] manhood is often a small miracle. Along the way, a father serves as the signpost, the beacon, the barometer that measures the simple and the mysterious, the sublime and the chaotic. And if the son can survive one day in the arena as his father did, he’ll know that he can face the battle again the next day. For that is the nature of [fatherhood] manhood. It is not someplace that one arrives at like a scheduled train stop on a cross-country holiday. [Fatherhood] manhood, like a river, runs true -moving towards its own end, taking its shape and form from terrains it touches. Like a river, manhood has its recognizable traits; responsibility, commitment, integrity and compassion, but also possesses its own individual qualities.”
As I reflect on fatherhood and embrace the yet unknown challenges still ahead, I realize failure cannot happen without my permission. With this in mind, the pursuit of fatherhood will continue with destiny (Determined Effort So Tenacious It Negates Yuck). For my children, I want nothing else but for them to live, enjoy, pursue and complete their D.A.S.H—that is their Determined Assignment Sent from Heaven.
Frank Chase Jr., False Roads To Manhood, What Women Need To Know: What Men Need To Understand (FC Publishing, LLC, Huntsville, AL 2005) 47