A cycle of bad fathering can be broken. I know because I've seen it happen right in front of my eyes. My late father was a terrible dad and I had fears for a long time that I'd pass along his traits and that my kids would be the recipient.
I knew that God had laid his hand on my marriage and on my kids. The best parts of my life have been being married and being a dad. I had no template to follow for either role, other than loose relationships with various uncles. But deep inside of me I always felt I had those genes that would make me a "loser" in both roles.
It was like a malignancy that wouldn't go away. That fear would go into hiding and then jump out from behind the bush and then duck back.
This week I got the clear message that the cycle had been broken. It has been smashed. It's no more. My dad left behind a trail of family wreckage in multiple states. I am an only child, but I know I have some half-siblings that I know about and probably many who I don't.
My dad stuck with my mother and me for 18 months and then vanished. I found him 25 years later with a whole new family and he totally rejected me. I always felt like I was never part of any one group.
That's changed. That's changed. This week my son Justin and his wife Lauren and their son Miles came for Thanksgiving. At some point, the big arc light went off in my head that my dad's bad fathering had been stopped.
Justin is an all-in husband and dad. I knew that before. But the bright beams on my internal headlights really made it standout. His wife Lauren is all-in. She's a great mom and a wife who really loves her husband.
The best job in the world is being a dad. I learned that with the birth of Justin and his sister Krista. I've had a bunch of jobs and enjoyed most of them. But being a dad tops the list.
I feel the same about our daughter Krista and her husband Adam and their kids Xavier and Gretchen. They are stellar.
In my head, I've seen the image of a big rubber stamp which says, "The cycle has been broken."
Thank-you God. Thank-you Gladys. Thank-you mom.