I am blessed! I had such a wonderful Father. He was always there for me; always cheered for me; was ready to listen to me and advise me. I knew he loved me and though he has been gone, for 20 years now, I still miss him. As we celebrate Father's Day I now feel honored to be the father for two adult children: Beth and John. Both turned out to be wonderful adults who are responsible, creative, talented, fun to be with, and (most important) truly love the Lord. I wish I could say that this was all a result of my wonderful efforts, but the truth is, as a busy pastor and family therapist I was distracted too much of the time. Fortunately, I have a wife who carried much of the parenting burden and I now benefit, in wonderful ways, from her dedication and effort. But the blessing of being a father, and the opportunity to be a support, encourager, and role model is not over. As long as I am alive there is always the possibility for me to influence the next generation in a positive way...
My wife and I now have two grandchildren: Andy and Sam. They live in Yukon Oklahoma so we don't get to see them every day. But they are only 2 hours away so we do see them frequently. It is not uncommon for them to come and spend a few days with Tumna and Pappy. When they do we usually try to go the Gathering Place for at least one day of activity and fun. Sometimes we will go to the Tulsa Zoo, or Tulsa Children's Museum. Most recently Andy and Sam challenged Pappy to a game of croquet. (I think they were both surprised after I won several games.) They frequently challenge me to a game of pool. (I usually win at that game as well.). I am anticipating that Sunday afternoon I will have opportunity to spend time with my son, my daughter, and both of the grandkids. It is nice to be remembered and honored by each of them. It is also nice to remember that because of each of them my life is blessed. I know that there are many dads, grand-dads, foster dads, step-dads, and "adopted" dads, who feel exactly the way I do: the children (grandchildren) in our life are a great blessing; but they also provide us with the challenge to be the kind of people God calls us to be. Perhaps one of the greatest goals of being a dad is to be an example, role-model, protector, and source of strength for each of the children (grand-children) God has brought into our life!
I pray that Father's Day will be a blessing for all of the dads and grand dads in our land; and that each of us will count our blessings and accept the challenge to be faithful men of God as we fulfill this vital role.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.