What’s your worth?
An intriguing question for many of us and quite likely the first things which come to mind are notions of income, equity, balance sheets, bonuses, investments and a rock solid 401k. But in honor of Father’s Day, I would love to brave a bit of a discussion on embracing a worth, more true, more noble, more satisfying and infinitely more essential than our financial fortunes. A man’s greatest worth will never lie anywhere more precious or meaningful than with his family. The woman he loves, the children he is an example to, and the priorities he sets his mind and his heart toward. These are where a man’s worth will always and forever be most dearly and especially valued.
I have certainly monopolized enough time to voice my ever emphatic opinions on my deep love, respect, honor and esteem of motherhood. Not rare are my attitudes voiced about the irreplaceable and beloved role mothers are given upon receiving the blessing of their children. But one can hardly speak to one role without an equal and opposite acknowledgment of the other. I often wonder on how our lives and world would look if we were to esteem men with as strong a voice of approval and admiration for their roles as fathers as we do their roles in being “successful,” competitive, goal oriented and tough.
Men can achieve wealth, status, influence and power. But if they have not altered the lives of others in meaningful and enduring ways their accomplishments are both empty and unimpressive. I can think of no other role in life that carries as much loathing and disdain when done poorly and as much reverence and regard when done well, as Fatherhood. An interesting, but inspired set of extremes. Few would disagree with the wise words that:
“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” Pope John XXIII
For a world that values fortitude and determination, it is an unwelcome irony that we don’t offer up these qualities to our children and families with as much concern and commitment as perhaps we should. I know plenty of parents, myself, at times included, that consider themselves good parents while setting a less than exceptional example. If I was to look at all of my actions and intentions through the lens of my children’s’ eyes, oh how humbled I would be and how altered I would rightly become! That we love is not enough. How we LIVE is of equal importance and dare I say greater esteem.
So this in nothing more than a moment to honor those men who consistently pursue both…love and living it. Here’s to those men who are adoring and respectful husbands. To those men who are tender, patient and devoted fathers. To those men who would do whatever it took to provide for and protect their families. To those men who can wipe a child’s tears and hug their hurts away. To those men who don’t need to be right, but always feel a need to be better. To those men who make their families feel safe. That their home is safe, their hearts are safe and that someone strong is guarding the door of their childhood such that nothing and no one can do them harm. To those men who know that their greatest treasure lies in the embrace of child’s trusting arms and feel themselves wealthy men in the riches of their memories of laughter, discovery, learning and growing. To those men who are certain enough to set boundaries, but realize that their greatest leverage is love. To those men who are persistent, consistent and unwavering in their commitment to those who desperately need to believe in them. To those men who do not TELL their children, but SHOW their children. To those men who have never sacrificed a single thing for their family but are ever and always aware that anything they “forego,” is returned a thousand fold because they know where their treasure lies. To those men who are as able to comfort a child as are able to confront a threat to their wellbeing. To men who realize that how much time they spend reading to their children will have a direct impact on how much time the police spend reading your wayward teen their rights. To men who realize that pride is the enemy of compassion and have the strength and wisdom to choose the latter. To those men who value the approval of their family over the applause of others. To those men who are endlessly enchanted with the awe and wonder they are able to both watch and inspire in their children. To those men who give selflessly, live courageously and love with tenacity and tenderness. To those men who can stand in the face of a teenager yelling, “I hate you!” and reply calmly with, “and I still love you to the moon and back.” To those men who stay up with a sick child or comfort a frightened one. To those men who have taught a child how to ride a bicycle, hit a baseball, catch a pass or catch a frog. To those men who love and honor their wives and are deeply aware of the fact that they are not only setting an example but offering their children the priceless gift of peace, security and unconditional belonging. To those men who are strong when they need to be, and tender when they ought to be. To those men who live with unwavering principles regardless of circumstance. To those men who would choose to be exceptional rather than make excuses. To those men who would fight for their country, fight for their family and defend tirelessly the greatest riches in their kingdom…the hearts that belong to them. To those men who accept with pride, devotion and honor all they have because of who and how they love. To those men who realize that they are in EVERY way the real life hero of their precious children and accept that challenge with both responsibility and imagination. To those men, who every day do all this and so much more. You are changing lives, changing the world and writing a story which shall never be forgotten.
*To those men whom I love. My heroes, my inspiration and my EVERYTHING.
“For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34