Many of us know the poem “Footprints”, for those of you whom do not, feel free to read it. I was reading over this poem today as part of the self-study that I am trying to do in order to ready myself to be a father. This poem was one that was recommended to me by another father with the premise that I was to read it and think of a child and their father as well as a person and God. I know that the basis of my fear is stemming from my inability to KNOW that I am going to be a good father. I have been told, time and time again, that this is a good thing. There is a huge part of me that wants to unleash a primal scream about that, but I will address that later (perhaps in the next post). When reading over “Footprints” I was reminded that, as a father, I am to be a reflection of God’s relationship with us in the relationship with my children. The meat of the poem, or at least the part that I want to talk about states:
“This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints”.
The poem goes on to talk about how the reason that there is only one during the rough times is because we are being carried by God, whom is walking alongside of us during the good times. Can I really do that for my children? This, my friends, I believe is the core of this fear. Looking back at my rough times I can see that my father was there, lifting me through them. I started thinking about my childhood and my father. After all, the only example that many of us have with the job of being a parent is our parents. So, I took stock in my life, in my experience’s, in my up’s and my downs. I recognize the fact that when it comes to the males in our society (I say males here because as I have stated previously, it takes something to be a man) that I have a bit of an unfair advantage. My parents were the best parents that anyone could have asked for. I am not talking about the “Leave it to Beaver” style of a home here. I am talking about affection, interaction, being there at games, spending time, parenting, love, compassion, genuine interest, and the host of other things that fall into categories much like these. It is because of this that I have nothing but fond memories of my Dad. There are the multitudes of times that we (brothers included) and our father went out to play catch, or to work in the yard. The camping trips and summers out at our grandparents’ farm. The countless skinned knees and lost games, and I am sure that there were some games that were won as well. The report cards and the “last minuet” science fair projects. The broken hearts and the lessons learned. I can only hope that in this chance at being a father that I can be the father that mine was to me.
Perhaps it is something in the way that we were created that we are always supposed to feel inferior. But, I have been fortunate enough to have a great role model that at least I have an idea of what it will take to be a father that can lift my child in all of their times of sorrow. By the way, just in case I have not said it, or have not said it enough, thank you Dad. Thank you for being the best you could for me. Thank you for the time that you have spent, and most likely will continue to spend, making sure that you are there for me, even when I do not think that I need it.
I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and I hope that I can be as awesome as a father as mine was to me