The biggest change in my life happened when my wife uttered two words to me “I’m Pregnant.” Excitement, Fear, Anxiety and Love all rushed through my emotional core over the next nine months. I pledged to be the best father I could to my child.
Now fast forward 5 years.
I was exhausted, working long hours and barely spending time with my children. My parenting was being out-sourced to teachers, coaches and babysitters. The crazy thing was that this seemed normal. All the other dads I knew had similar situations. Then one night, I was watching the news and a report came on stating that a father’s involvement in a child’s life was the single most influential factor in shaping that child’s morals, values and beliefs. The difference between raising a Godly, loving adult or a character flawed, criminal.
This was all great but what can I do? Where do I start? Who would I listen to? I, myself, grew up without a father and never had a male role mode? Plus, there are hundreds of books and programs all claiming that their simple steps would make me a stellar father but none of them had proof. Also, what metrics were they measuring this “great father” model? I am a Christian and my definition of a good husband and father may differ from the rest of society. I wanted to raise children of strong character, morals and values. Children who were leaders, academically successful and well rounded. Not to mention, passing on my faith and helping them find their own faith and beliefs. I had the best intentions but had no idea where to start.
A few weeks later, for some reason, I decided to call my grandfather. My grandfather had worked hard all his life building his small business. My grandmother and he still managed to save and invest a considerable amount of money and now they spent most of their time working with charities and their local church. My grandfather was always a well respected man in his community and church. He didn’t give big speeches, but when he spoke, people listened. He also managed to raise 3 wonderful children. One doctor, my father, (who died of a heart attack before I was born) one nurse, and one son who went into the missionary field. My grandfather was also awarded the Silver Star in World War II but would never talk about how he received it. He was liked by almost everyone that met him and it’s safe to say he was a positive male role model. When I called him, he chuckled when I said I wanted to speak with him about parenting and invited me to his house that night.
That night, after dinner, my grandfather took me into his study. I explained to him my struggles and how I wanted to be a good parent for my children. My grandfather listened intently and then finally said. “Your father never had a chance to teach you what I taught him. Many times I wanted to help you but I had to wait until you were ready.” “Are you ready?” he asked. “Sure” I replied. “No! I mean are you really ready? Every father wants to be a good father but few are willing to go the distance and do what it takes. Are you ready to do whatever it takes? Are you ready to be the husband and father your family deserves?” I thought about my wife and children for a few moments, I thought about the news report I had watched and all the problems with the youth in America today and then finally said “Yes, I am.”
Next, my grandfather took me down to his cellar and pointed to a large steamer trunk on the floor. He pulled out a key and opened it. Inside was a wooden tray containing an assortment of antiques: My grandfathers Silver Star, an old pocket watch that belonged to by great grandfather and a rusted Colt revolver that belonged to my great-great grandfather. There were also trinkets from foreign countries and many old papers and notes. My grandfather lifted the tray and underneath was an assortment of books each stacked in groups of 7 or 8 that had a leather strap wrapped around them. In the middle, my grandfather pulled out a large, antique book that looked liked something out of an old movie. He opened the book and said “Your journey has begun. Once you read and apply what’s in this book, your questions will be answered”
The book was really a journal containing writings from what seemed liked numerous authors, translations from foreign languages, sketches and quotes from historical and biblical figures. I would soon learn that this journal was written over many years by many prominent men and contained the facts and truths about not only raising my children but also how a Godly Christian man should live his life. It was like having a panel of mentors readily available whenever I needed it.
I spent the next two years reading the journal and the other books in the trunk, asking many questions of my grandfather and working hard to apply the principles in the journal. Unfortunately, God took my grandfather home in the third year of my study and as a tribute to him and for my own journal, I started Legacy Dad. After his passing, I asked my grandmother for the old trunk and the contents. It now sits in my garage and it’s teachings get filtered through me and explained through trial and error in the world of real parenting here on Legacy Dad.
The purpose of Legacy Dad is to share the principles in my grandfather’s journal with as many fathers as I can and hopefully create a generation of fathers that leave a real legacy for their children. A legacy of hope, love, values and tools to empower our children to be the leaders of tomorrow.
It’s not about raising perfect kids, it’s about raising purpose driven kids that make a difference.