I remember when my son Justin and I met Ken Canfield, the author of the Heart of a Father, at a PromiseKeepers event in Chicago. He was in the booth for the National Center for Fathering where he was the president.
I bought the book and read it several times and then shared it with a big bunch of guys. This happened just as people were still learning about websites. They had one and I followed it for quite awhile.
Time flew and I'm now a grandfather looking at my son with his almost one-year-old son and at my son-in-law Adam and his almost five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter.
I've had the privilege to watch them father their kids up close and from afar. It would be an understatement to say that I'm impressed. To be accurate, I'd have to say that the hand of God reached down and touched both of them to be the exemplary fathers that they are.
My grandchildren have dads, real dads who know how to love their kids and the mother's of their three children. They are not afraid to get poop under their fingernails, change a wet bed or read stories until their voices become hoarse.
They enjoy being with their kids. Every morning after my first grandson was born, I'd look at a picture of him and his dad walking around a running track with Adam holding a basketball and my grandson hanging onto his finger. You could see the big smile on both of their faces. My grandson was not quite a year old and had just started walking.
Cutting, curing and storing wood for the winter is an annual event where they live in Bosnia. Check the picture of the two of them splitting and stacking the wood. There's one proud dad and a very proud son.
My granddaughter knows that she's the apple of her dad's eye and that he finds spending time with her a privilege even when she flexes her muscles as an independent two-year-old. He's her cheerleader along with her mom, my daughter.
Now my youngest grandson who is almost a year-old is not at the splitting wood age, but he and my son bonded real early, like from the time he was born. The two are tight.
Justin holds him, plays with him, talks to him and has fun with a little guy who has a smile that can fill a room. He knows his dad and he knows that his dad is in his corner.
My son loves to cook. During my daughter-in-law's challenging pregnancy, he cooked often. He stepped in and showed his wife the real love that comes from faithfully filling and operating the dishwasher and washing clothes.
All three of my grandkids have dads who love their wives and who show it through their words and actions. Their kids can take comfort from the fact that their dads put their wives on an elevated position which means their family will not be threatened.
And, finally, my son and son-in-law have God at the center of their lives. They know that when they blow it that they are forgiven. They are teaching this to their kids.
Now the National Center for Fathering has lots of categories for "fathers-of-the year", but I hope that they would consider these guys for consideration as Father's Day approaches.
And, one more thing, I hope that dads who have perpetuated a cycle of bad fathering can take comfort from this. The cycle can be broken. My father was a no-show. He came from a long-line of bad fathering. It can be stopped and these two guys are proof.