My role as a dad has never been more rewarding.
This past week I had quite a few “dad” moments. There were school meetings, interactions with coaches and other adults who have some influence in my kids’ lives, a coffee date with some of my girls, a mountain drive with one of the boys, some email and text exchanges, plenty of conversations with my wife about parenting matters, and lots of prayers. As they’ve aged, my kids haven’t necessarily required more of my time, but they’ve gotten more of my attention and heart.
The seasons of raising kids changes. When they are young, and you can still pick them up, many of your activities as a dad are to encourage, enjoy, instruct and/or simply protect your child (how many emergency room visits have YOU made lately?). Most of their decisions are short-term in both nature and impact. As they get older, however, children own more of life and its choices, and the stakes get higher. And you get the joy of having adult-to-adult chats, more meaningful shared experiences and even some acknowledgment like, “You’ve done okay, Pops.”
Reflecting on the seasons, I smiled when I saw this quote from basketball superstar LeBron James. When his oldest son was probably 3 or 4 (and now a young teen) LeBron said,
I go home and see my son and I forget about any mistake I ever made or the reason I’m upset. I get home and my son is smiling or he comes running to me. It has just made me grow as an individual and grow as a man.
It’s probably been close to ten years since he said that, and I hope today LeBron is still forgetting the mistakes, embracing the smiles and continuing to grow as a father. In many ways, the best years are still ahead for both you and your kids!