Posted by: Tricia | Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The heroism of fatherhood

As I’ve mentioned before, I keep up with Midland’s newspaper’s website on a fairly regular basis. So just now I was perusing the headlines, and came across this commentary:

For Father’s Day all I want is for my kids to see me
By Mike Goeke

A friend of mine recently referred to his missionary dad as his “hero.” As I creep into my 40s, being a hero to my kids holds more allure, and the legacy of my life seems to take on more value to me. I wondered what it would take to be a hero to my kids. What would they say about me at my funeral?

To be honest, great financial success has never motivated me, and I don’t care to leave a legacy of material things. So in my mind I crafted a legacy. I decided that I want my kids to see me walking in obedience to God. I want them to see me serving the church, and serving other people. I want them to see me taking spiritual risks, and living the life of a true disciple of Christ. But as I was thinking of all the things I want my kids to see me doing, something very important literally flooded my thoughts and washed over my heart, soul and mind.

More than any of those things, I realized that I just want my kids to see me. I want them to see me at their sporting events. I want them to see me at their school programs. I want them to see me at breakfast and at supper. I want them to see me crouched behind a baseball glove or sitting at a tea party, drinking imaginary tea and eating plastic doughnuts. I want them to see me at their desks, working through math problems. I want them to see me on the side of their bed, praying with them at night. I want them to see me with arms open wide to comfort them or to welcome them home. I want them to see me caring when they are scared or sad. I want them to see me jumping across the trampoline from them, and running behind their bike as they learn to ride without training wheels. I want them to see me with my own Dixie cup full of popcorn, watching the DVD du jour. I want them to see me smiling when I walk in the door and I want them to see me groggy as they tap on my forehead to wake me up in the morning. I want them to see me cry and to see me laugh. I want them to see me make mistakes. I want them to see me loving their mommy, and laughing with their mommy, and kissing their mommy, and saying “I’m sorry” to their mommy. I want them to see me.

Yes, I want them to see me doing great things for God and living out the call on my life with honor. But at the end of the day, even those very good things probably don’t matter if, in the process, they never saw me. I think I will quit worrying about my kids seeing me as a hero, and work harder to make sure that they simply see me.

Mr. Goeke’s children are so very blessed! He’s got it. He knows what life is all about, and how to find the joy that everyday has in store.

This just makes the biggest pain well up in my heart that I can’t even describe.

My heart is shattered that my precious boys don’t have a father as such. I am so proud of my kids, and even though it turns out they got dealt a rotten hand in the paternal department, they wouldn’t be who they are if their father were anyone else. But how horrendously sad is it that the man who is so blessed to have such gorgeous children is so oblivious to the fact? It makes me so mad that I didn’t have the insight into what he would be capable of. But I realize I’m not superhuman, and ultimately, the fault lies with him, and him only. He is going to miss out on so much of the joy his children can bring to his life. So be it for him, but what really breaks my heart is that they too will be missing out, and through absolutely no fault of their own. While I realize I alone can’t fill the enormous void that their father’s absence creates, this consumes me with motivation to continually work towards being everything these babies deserve in their mother and make sure they grow up with the same consuming desire to someday be the best fathers they can be. I desperately want them to have a full understanding that their children are the most precious gifts God can bless their lives with.

I pray that God has someone else in store for me that will be willing to take on the role for these kids that their dad is walking away from. Someone to demonstrate this level of integrity. Of gratitude. How to count their blessings. How to find joy in the little things they come across every single day.

I pray that there is a man out there who someday will eagerly step up to fill this void that I will never be able to fill all on my own, and be the father these kids deserve.

In spite of not sharing their genes.

Now that is a rare man, indeed, and in my eyes, there is truly no better use of the word ‘hero.’



  1. I am commenting on your post about The Guy and how it’ll affect your kids, etc. I’m in total agreement about not confusing things for your kids, but I am a master of getting what I want, so let me see if I can think of some alternate solutions… Well, the bbq idea is a GREAT start, for one thing. Do it. 🙂 And I bet if you explained your hesitancy of kid exposure to The Guy he would be more than happy to come hang out in your garage for a coule of hours after the kids are in bed. You do deserve to move on and to be happy. Here’s hoping!!

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