The Goodness of Imperfect Fathers

July 28, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Carol McClain –

My father wasn’t perfect—he drank too much, smoked unfiltered cigarettes and died too soon. However, these aren’t the moments I recall. Much of the goodness in me and my family is the direct result of him.

He adored my mother. I remember him coming home from work, and we kids would crow for his attention. We received our hugs and kisses, but then he got to Mom. He’d hold her in his arms and they’d cuddle and smooch—none of us existed in that moment. Their love came first.

His interests centered on his boat—and the boat meant family time. We spent summers sailing the Long Island Sound, fishing—we’d fish, he’d bait our hooks and remove our catch. Then we’d picnic on sandbars. As the commander in the Long Island Coast Guard Auxiliary, he modeled his dedication to altruistic causes.

He’d arrive home from work at the same time daily. The great joy of my life was to “surprise” him by walking the half-mile to the main road to meet him.

His positive traits inspired me.

He consciously taught me not to smoke by showing me the tar his cigarettes produced.

My husband, Neil, bought a boat, and it’s the one motorized entertainment I relish. And today, when Neil’s return from work nears, I grab the dog and walk down the route he takes. I feel a childhood joy in meeting my love, of cherishing my faithfulness to my spouse.

These are heirlooms I can finger, joys that play out in my life today, details that show my father’s impact.

And how about you, fathers? You see your flaws, and honestly, so do your children. But they see your goodness and both will impact them for the rest of their lives. Strengthen the good.

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Heb 12:12-13).

About Carol McClain

Carol McClain is a multi-published author in the non-fiction market who currently writes contemporary novels. She has taught high school English for over thirty years, and has supervised numerous student teachers. She is active in ACFW and North Country Habitat for Humanity.
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