All fathers have their own fears when they are first introduced to their role as dad. How do I hold them so I don’t drop them? What happens if they cry and I can’t figure out why? How the hell do I put this bottle together? As time goes on, these seem to become trivial in nature and greater fears grow. How will they know my love? Will they understand the reaches I will go to for them? How do I know I’m a good dad? My greatest fear? What if they turn out just like me?
There is easy reasoning behind said greatest fear. In my life, I haven’t exactly been the best of friends, sons, brothers, husbands. My past is checkered with one bad decision after another. An on and off again addict. An almost destroyed marriage (totally on me). School dropouts and homelessness. And to top it all off, I am schizoaffective with anxiety issues. I always aspired to be someone great, but always managed to sabotage myself. Looking at my life, it’s not exactly the great I would have expected. And I’m far from being a great person.
I know when I die, most people won’t remember my name, or where I have worked, or even what I was most known for. I do hope people will remember what kind of spirit I had (if they think it’s a kind one) and what I did in my life for other people. I don’t care if nobody tweets about me, if nobody Facebook messages their friends to tell them of my passing. I don’t really care if my passing is barely noticed. The only thing I would want to know for sure is that my children always knew that daddy loved them, and that I lived the right example for them.
But I want so much more for my children. I do not want them to grow up and have to struggle. I do not want them to have to know the frustration, the stress, and the strain on life that exists in the world. I want them to go on to much better things than what I have been able to provide to this point. I want to see their wildest dreams and biggest expectations open up and become realities. I want to see their “I want to” turn into “I did”. For all of the things I have said, or might say, they can’t do, I want them to be able to turn around and say “I told you so.”
I don’t wish for them to be famous movies stars, athletes, or musicians (unless that’s what they pursue). I don’t wish for them to have a large bank account that affords them the riches they will never need. I do not want them to have the cameras and spotlights on them at all times, or win prestigious awards, or be someone their grandkids study about in school. But I do wish for their greatness.
When my children have grown old and passed, I want people to remember them for their greatness of character. I want them to have been people of integrity, people of immeasurable kindness; people of unshakable conviction. I want people to stand around and remember them as people who always put family first and did what they had to for their family. I want them to be known the world around for their acts of love and their words of truth. I want them to shine a light on the world that will never fade, never grow dim, and never be unseen. I want them to shower the world with a love that can be felt by all and a greatness that can really be admired.
My Own Great Failures
I sometimes feel I have failed my children in that I haven’t lived my life like this, and thus I have a fear they will end up like me. I feel that my inabilities and instabilities will not show them a life of “greatness” like I speak of. I pray for the strength to change myself to live with this greatness.
I suspect that maybe I need to figure out how to be great myself before I can live the example. Makes sense right? That in order to define my hopes for their greatness, I need to be able to define it for myself. The lingering dilemma I have though is this: How does one who is far from great, define greatness?
I guess that’s just something I will find out after I am dead and gone. I may not see it in myself. But maybe at my funeral, one of my children will speak of a father who taught them the important things. That taught them how to shine that light upon the world. In this way, I will know I am great. Down the road, my hope is that the same things will be said about them Then, we will all become, someone great.