I am no “sperm donor.” I am a Dad.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  I tried not to look shocked.

When I was in ShopRite this week, a toddler–a cute, little girl full of personality–walked up to her mom and was asked a question meant to be funny to the adults within earshot.

“Where’s your sperm donor?”

Impressive mother, eh?!

My guess is that the father probably wasn’t all that impressive either.  After listening to his wife (I’ll assume for the sake of argument that they were married), I am already questioning his discernment.

What kind of “Father” is he?  Hopefully he is indeed far more than a “sperm donor.”

Being a father is a serious endeavor–a commitment which requires my effort on a daily basis, an effort I am willing to put forth.  And I plan to put forth that effort today–even being a bit under-the-weather.  Every genuine father needs to keep his suck-it-up reservoir filled.

Allow me to close by sharing the following from Max Lucado.  The link to where I know the full resource–one worth reading–is given below.  It explains why I jumped into the pool yesterday with my kids.  Max writes,

Here’s a Lucado hunch about parenting: fathers and mothers enter the child-rearing business at two different times. Mothers decide to be mothers long before dads do. A mother carries a baby for nine months, giving her an opportunity to grow content with her decision to parent the new family member.

Dad, however, goes about his daily routine, pretty much unaffected by what’s going on inside the womb. Oh, he’s supportive and excited, but compared to Mom, he’s an observer. Until delivery time. Then Dad’s world takes on new meaning. He looks into the face of the new life and is faced with the realization: “I’m the father of this child.” You might call it a “delivery room discovery.” At this point a good dad makes a big decision. He has to decide to become a father. And that decision sets up dominoes of decisions he will make for the rest of his life. It’s a rational choice to alter his life, schedule, direction, and priorities in order to be a good dad to the tiny life in his arms.

Fathering a child is, for many, not difficult. But being a father is! It’s the first and most important decision of fathers: to make a conscientious choice to be a father.

The decision to be a father is not just a delivery room decision, though. It is a daily decision. A century ago, dads were on-site parents, working the farm or running the family store. Children spent a great deal of their time alongside their parents, working together. But in our modern culture, employment distances most dads from their kids. Some dads leave home before the children are awake. Others arrive home long after the kids are home from school. Consequently, it is possible, even common, for a father to forget about fathering—to emotionally disconnect himself from his children. Throughout the day, every day, dads need to renew their “dad” decision. “Will I attend this convention?” “Is this meeting essential?” “Can I rearrange these appointments to get home earlier?” On the way home from work, dads have to decide to take off the work hat and put on the “dad” hat. It’s a decision to manage his time, carefully reconciling work with the priority of family.

Being a good dad means making tough, sacrificial decisions. Decisions that tell our children what is important to us.

In his book, Achieving Success Without Failing Your Family, Paul Faulkner describes the decisions of an insurance executive. Speaking at a businessmen’s convention, the man stressed the importance of being a father first. The man’s daughter was in the audience.

…in the middle of his talk he had turned to her and asked, “Sweetheart, do you remember the time I won the million-dollar roundtable three years in a row?”

And she said, “No, Dad, I don’t guess I do.”

And then he asked, “Well, do you remember when we used to have those Dairy Queen dates?”

And she said, “Oh, yes!”

And then he turned to the audience to make the point that daughters don‘t remember when you sell a million dollars worth of insurance, but they do remember your special dates.1



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