My father told me a long time ago that he use to ask God everyday, “God, whatever I have done well as a parent, let it stay with my sons. Whatever I have done wrong, help them to forget and cover my mistakes.” My dad is an amazing man however he is not and was not perfect. Growing up I struggled with my relationship with my dad. Looking back now, I realize that just as he had expectations for me and of me, I was no different. When I was a kid I always thought my dad was disappointed because he couldn’t accept me for who I was. But you know, I was the same way. I expected my dad to play catch with me. I expected him to come to my sports games. I wanted him to talk to me about girls and life. I couldn’t accept him for who he was and therefore didn’t appreciate the sacrifices he had to make for us.
All this to say, like all of us, I have scars from my childhood. One day however, I saw something that completed a long healing process. A few years ago, my wife and I took our kids down to visit my parents as we do once in awhile. Nothing out of the ordinary. My dad was outside playing with the kids. He was making silly faces. He made silly voices. He was chasing them. He was swinging them around and giving them piggy back rides. All of a sudden I saw this ordinary picture in an extraordinary way. It hit me…watching my dad play with his grandkids gave me a window into what my dad would have done with me if he could do it all over again.
How did this heal me? All the things I wished my father was to me, he is with his grandkids. It healed me because I see in him as a grandfather, the father he always wished he could be with my brother and me. God answered the prayers of a good man who in his goodness did the best he could at the time and who in his humility knew he wasn’t perfect. My dad always tells me that the younger generation has the opportunity to correct the mistakes of the generation that precedes it. My dad is teaching me how to be a better father by being a great granddad.