The Thankful Campaign: Guest Post: Lessons Learned from Dads Who Have Gone Before
Wayne Parker is the father of five children and has served as the Fatherhood Guide for About.com since 2002. Wayne contributes to The Father Factor today as part of The Thankful Campaign.
The Thanksgiving season always causes me to reflect on people who have blessed my life. This season particularly I have thought of the impact of three fathers who have shaped my attitudes about fatherhood and my own experience as a father.
My own father taught me many important lessons. The first is that fathers work hard to support their families. Even though my dad worked two jobs most of my life to sustain our family and I missed having more time with him growing up, I never doubted his commitment and his love. And he taught me most of all by example that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
I was also close to another father growing up, who was the dad of my best friend and my dads best friend. Gene Holderness taught me the importance of making time for fun and for doing things together as a family. Genes joy for life and his commitment to fun made a big impression and helped shape my own approach to fatherhood.
Finally, the third important father figure in my life was a religious leader from my youth who raised a truly remarkable family. Barrie Blackburn taught me some remarkable lessons about resilience, about surviving and thriving after tragedy, and about how to best battle the seeds of discouragement that often creep into a fathers life. He lost a son to leukemia but never lost faith. And his gift to me of a hand-carved top with a small flaw in it reminds me often that keeping moving is the best way to not look too critically at our own flaws and scars.
So, thanks for great fathers, our own and the fathers of others, who made such a difference for us. It is our job as fathers to pass on that legacy of amazing fatherhood to our children, our grandchildren and beyond.