A Father’s Value

There are so many things I want to do, but there is one responsibility that trumps everything else. The responsibility is being a father. Is this my great mission in life? I don’t know, but it is my mission now. Is there any way a father can have greater impact on future generations? Is there any greater way to preserve and honor the legacy of a surname?

Tombstones may rot away in time. That’s if you even get one. There is not even a guarantee that the works you do on this planet will last through the years. But a strong word-of-mouth tradition handed down from father to son has the potential to last generations.

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. –George Herbert

Teachers can only provide so much education. The lessons are pre-planned, developed for the masses. They are not tailored to the individual child’s growth and development. You can learn the lessons on the blackboard, but do you understand it? Will you be able to deploy that information when the time comes?

A father can share knowledge and help his child understand. He can guide in the ways of wisdom. He can demonstrate the right way to live. Through emulation a child can learn how to be virtuous. A father can teach his son how to be a man, something the school system could never do.

Today as I meditate on my role as a father, I consider the things I can do better. What areas can I improve on so that I may be a better role model? The skills of a father are not developed overnight. It is an art that becomes more beautiful as it is practiced daily.

What Good Have I Done?

Last night I opened up Twitter and in my notifications was a question that made me pause and think. “Now that the day has passed, what good did you do today?”

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I will keep constant watch over myself, and, most usefully, will put each day up for review. -Seneca

A new habit that I am working on is writing in my journal before going to bed. What am I writing about? I’m putting my day up for review and noting my short-comings. I am looking at where I went wrong and how I can do better in the future. Did I allow my temper to get the best of me? Did I not do the things I wanted to get done? I look at where I went wrong, but there is a question I don’t usually ask myself. What good did I do today?

Yesterday, I did a lot of good things for myself. I got up early. I exercised, read, and wrote. I drafted a future post on the virtue of Temperance. I went to work. I went about my day as usual and did a lot of good things -for myself. To my knowledge, I didn’t do anything evil. I don’t even remember having any bad thoughts. But did I do any good? I did what I felt was right, but is this enough? I didn’t see an opportunity to do a good deed, but was I really even looking?

Virtue consists more in doing good than refraining from evil. -Aristotle

When I came home, I found out my son got in trouble at school. He hit someone for no reason. I asked him why. He said because he wanted to. He was not provoked nor upset by the other person. He, for no apparent reason, wanted to hit the other boy. I did my duty as father.

What is my duty? As a father, it is my duty to raise a boy into a strong and productive man that can contribute to society when he gets older. He has his name and reputation to protect, even at the age of six. He cannot do that if he is being a bully. He must actively do good and not only refrain from evil.

The rod of correction gives wisdom, but uncontrolled youths disgrace their mothers. Discipline your children, and they will bring you comfort, and give delight to your soul. -Proverbs 29:15,17

“What good did I do today?” It is good that I did my duty. But if he did not get into trouble, would I have done any good? My plan after work was to play with my son. We were going to exercise a little, wrestle a bit, and then get into some Legos. My “good” was in being a good father and husband. It may not seem remarkable to some, but I view it as my sacred duty. Yet I could have done more on this day. I will catalog it in my journal and make the attempt to do more “good” tomorrow.

Again, thank you Chip for creating this awareness to actively do good.