As Fathers’ Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about what a blessing it is to be a father to my three kids. Thankfully, I’ve met a lot of great fathers in my life who have been examples to me of what it means to love and sacrifice for their families, foremost being my own dad. He and my mom raised ten kids and taught us to be responsible, value family, and honor God. I’ve had other mentors and friends in my life who have similarly modeled Christian fatherhood for me.
On the flip side, I’ve also seen the negative effects of not having a father in the lives of some of the patients I have gotten to care for, and the additional struggles this can cause. From increased risks for poverty, obesity, behavioral issues, and drug and alcohol abuse just to name a few, on top of all the good things fathers do they can also help to prevent bad things as well.
This year has been unusual for everyone, and it has caused parenting to look different for a lot of people. Many dads, including myself, have been home together with their kids during this pandemic. Being closer with my children during this time has truly been a blessing, seeing how much they learn and grow from day to day, however, our current situation is not what I had planned for. For me, my hope for my kids this year was to teach them about the world, other cultures, and service through doing missions as a family. That was cut short when we had to make a difficult decision to return home in order to protect our kids during a global pandemic. Though life can be unpredictable, I hope that in every circumstance I can make decisions that stem from my love for my family.
And of course, the ultimate example of a good Father is God. I pray he gives me and all fathers the wisdom, guidance, and grace we need to encourage our children to be good people. I pray that God uses my experiences to give me insights into being a better father.
I wish all the dads in my life a happy Fathers’ Day!
Brian Jennings, MD