Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fathers’ Day Reflections

Fathers’ Day was this weekend and I do hope that each of you had a wonderful time with your families. In the perfect world, families are together with moms and dads happily raising their kids. But in reality, this utopia doesn’t really exist, does it? In today’s world, over 50% of first marriages fail. Many of these marriages produced kids who have to adjust to the breakup of their happy home. Also, many kids are born to single moms with the dads rarely, if at all.

So as I reflect on these issues, I consider myself quite fortunate – blessed, if you will. Nine years ago at this point, I was in the middle of the most difficult period of my life – my divorce. My little 3 year old daughter was caught in the middle of the very unpleasant process. Fathers’ Day that year had special meaning to me – because for the first time, I had a significant challenge to my rights as a father.

My firsthand experience with the family law system really opened my eyes to what so many families face. And as a dad, I learned why so many say that the system is against men. You can learn of my experience through various posts on this blog such as: The Story Behind the Upbeat Dad and The Great Oxymoron: Family Law.

Yet today I can look back and only smile. That which I saw as a nightmare was really my training to become a better dad and to encourage others to do likewise. As difficult as the process was, it wasn’t meant to kill me – but rather, to make me stronger.

A phrase I have coined since then is: That which I thought was the death of me became the key to my victory. I’m happily remarried to a wonderful woman – a true partner for life. My daughter is a happy, well-adjusted 12 year old who lives with us. And we have a little 10 month old son who just brightens our lives. Things aren’t perfect with us but I can honestly say that this is as good as I’ve ever had it.

I share different aspects of my journey and experience on this blog for a particular reason. I strongly believe that if we become transparent – and show our trophies as well as our scars – others will be encouraged as they deal with their own challenges. If I were to present my story only as a happily married father of 2, the impact of my message would be minimized. When I can tell of the stress and the heartache that I’ve experienced through the demise of a marriage, I can reach some who I couldn’t otherwise reach. The highs and the lows of life are really meant for us to share our stories with others. That way we can make a stronger connection and increase our effectiveness.

As I thought about writing this post, the song Lucky Man by the country duo of Montgomery Gentry came to mind. I have learned to really appreciate different forms of music and one that’s just special to me is country. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the country in Jamaica. Perhaps it’s because the simplicity as well as the complexity of life are echoed in those songs. I share Lucky Man here because I believe that it helps us to appreciate that which we have even more:

Lucky Man
By Montgomery Gentry

I have days where I hate my job,
This little town and the whole world too
And last Sunday when the Bengals lost
Lord it put me in a bad mood

I have moments when I curse the rain
Then complain when the sun's too hot
I look around at what everyone has
And I forget about all I've got

But I know I'm a lucky man
God's given me a pretty fair hand
Got a house and piece of land
A few dollars in a coffee can
My old truck's still runnin' good
My ticker's tickin' like they say it should
I've got supper in the oven
A good woman's lovin 
And one more day to be my little kids dad
Lord knows I'm a lucky man

Got some friends that would be here fast
I could call 'em any time of day
Got a brother who's got my back
Got a momma who I swear's a saint
Got a brand new rod and reel
Got a full week off this year
Dad had a close call last spring
It's a miracle he's still here


But I know I'm a lucky man
God's given me a pretty fair hand
Got a house and piece of land
A few dollars in a coffee can
My old trucks still runnin' good
My ticker's tickin' like they say it should
I've got supper in the oven
A good woman's lovin'
And even my bad days aint that bad
Yeah I'm a lucky man
I'm a lucky, lucky man

Get the message? However bad things may ever get, we have much to be thankful for.

If you’re a dad, I hope that you had a wonderful Fathers’ Day weekend with your kids. But even if you didn’t, just know that bright days lie ahead if you continue to lovingly care for them as you should. Things just seem to work out fine for those who do. As a dad, you’re a lucky man – you’re alive and you have a chance to impact the world for good as you raise your kids.

Enjoy your day today. And in every way, keep focused on being the best dad you can be. Your kids deserve nothing less.

The Upbeat Dad

No comments:

Post a Comment