Saturday, July 14, 2012

How My Dad Made a Difference - Part Three

If you are a parent, you know how difficult it can be to raise a child.
If you have yet to experience children of your own, then know this...
you will never be perfect, and its OK!

My father was diagnosed with lung-cancer about age 52.
With a prognosis of six-months to live,
doctors told dad to get his affairs in order.
The miracle was the cancer disappeared completely in four months.
He lived another 15 years before the cancer returned and claimed his life.

Although my father worked for the same company 30 years,
in those days an employer saw cancer as a death sentence
and gave him little option but early retirement.
After that, in some ways I think my dad saw little purpose,
and I know this was a struggle for him
as we all commonly confuse our “job” with our “identity”.

However sometimes I see this additional “time from God”
as the best thing which could have happened
as my father now had more time for me.
This meant quite a bit to a teenage boy with many questions.

Most kids want to understand what good decision making looks like.
We need parents to model it for us.
But, we want to learn on our own.
With the additional free time my father enjoyed,
he often had a season of abundant patience to hear me out.
But instead of telling me what to do with every situation I faced
he listened and encouraged me.

And here is the subtle difference in his words, as he would say,
“Son, it sounds like you need to think about that some more,”
versus his other response,
“It sound like you have thought about that quite a bit.”
The “key” is he let me try and figure things out.

He didn’t tell me what to think or do.
He didn’t outright agree or disagree, although it could seem so.
The point is this, you can help your kids figure out life on their own terms
just by being there and being available,
even if you haven’t been able to add much to the conversation.

Let your kids know you believe in them.
Give them “food for thought”
so they can make better decisions by learning to think for themselves.

You arent gonna have perfect advice.
Nor will you have the best ever answers.
But being around so your kids can bounce ideas off you
can make all the difference in their confidence for making tough decisions.

And in this my dads words of wisdom will last a lifetime.

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