After 24 years of teaching in parochial schools, my husband, Larry, and I retired and moved to the Springfield area. Our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter live in Willard, so moving to Brookline was ideal. We were close enough to see each other and yet far enough away that we wouldn’t run into one another every time we went to the store.
Larry and I had discussed ideas of what we would be doing to supplement our income. We made some plans and God laughed! Our plans were not His plans! Larry decided to be a part-time school bus driver for the Republic school district. His part-time changed within the first few months of school--he now has a daily route driving each morning and afternoon! So much for sleeping in every morning! He is also a trained Fatherhood Development Curriculum facilitator for Good Dads. I even got him involved!
My plans for retirement were to be a substitute teacher. I loved being a teacher and I love working with kids. I thought with Springfield Lutheran School, as well as the other parochial and private schools in the area, I would be able to pick and choose when and where I wanted to teach. My first stop in my quest to be a substitute in Springfield was at Springfield Lutheran School. To me, this stop was the most logical because of my experience in Lutheran Schools in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. I thought this born and raised Minnesota girl could spread “Minnesota Nice” to the Springfield Lutheran School. At SLS I had the pleasure of meeting principal Mr. Paul Baker. We had a delightful visit and I agreed to send him my contact information.
That was in early August. By mid to late August I had a few sub dates set up with SLS. These dates were not all meant to be. After church services, Paul Baker mentioned to me several times that his wife Jennifer needed some help at her office. He told me, “She runs a non-profit and could use some help. I should have her talk to you.” I said that would be fine. I would be open to talking to her about helping her out.
Now, if you know Paul Baker, you know that he can be persistent. If you know Jennifer Baker, you know that she doesn’t like to be pushed into anything. With Paul’s persuading, Jennifer and I spoke and sent up a time to meet at the Good Dads office. After talking with Jennifer for about an hour, I was hired as the newest assistant at Good Dads!
I could end here and be done. However, there is SO much more to this story! I have worked at Good Dads for 4 ½ months and I LOVE it! I have learned so much about the needs of dads and kids. My own attitudes and opinions have changed as I have gotten to know the dad we serve. I realize the importance of training facilitators to help men be better dads. I am excited to compile facilitator manuals and participant binders for the dads. I enjoy making phone calls to dads reminding them of an upcoming class or checking in with them to see how things are going. I love hearing the stories when a dad gets to see his child for the first time in a very long time. I enjoy getting teary-eyed when a dad receives a Christmas gift from us. I look forward to seeing what a difference love, kindness, and respect can make in dad’s life.
I thought I would be doing the giving as a substitute teacher--I was wrong. I have received so much more than I could possibly imagine. My co-workers, Janice and Lisa, are a joy to work with each day. The camaraderie we share is amazing. Working for Dr. Baker is such an exciting opportunity. Her knowledge and insight to the dilemma of fathers in today’s society is second to none. I am honored to working her. God has placed me where He wants me to be. His plan is most definitely the best plan. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll go back to substitute teaching. But, for now, I’m right where I need to be.
Rhonda Andersen is involved in curriculum development and case management here at GOOD DADS. She is a wife, mother, and granddaughter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently had a total hip replacement. In good care of my new hip I am faced with my doctor’s good counsel of how much activity is the right amount of activity. In the true spirit of Goldilocks I am not to do too much or too little. There is a balance of activity for me that is just right.
Parents sometimes struggle with this balance of too much and too little when it comes to the activity of their children. Parents can be led to believe that if their children are not doing everything, or much of everything, than their children are missing out on something. Parents can be led to believe that their children must try a little bit of everything to find out what they might be really good at – from voice lessons and violin, soccer and saxophone, skating and skiing and scouting.
There are two diving forces that pressure parents into too much activity. On one hand, parents want to position their children for greatness so that their children have the best of all opportunities. And on the other hand, parents know just how cruel and critical the world can be. Parents then position their children for greatness in hopes of protecting their children from bullies and critical people.
First, your children will not be the best at anything. They won’t. Get over it. Your children are average and just fine the way they are. Second, you will never protect your children from bullies or critics. You won’t. I am sorry.
So, as Good Dads, let us not burden our children with the unfortunate expectations of others -- not well intended grandparents, neighbors, or the people of the church. You are the Dad – and you are a Good Dad. Do not “outsource” your child’s health, confidence, or esteem to anyone other than you.
Ask yourself right now, “What do I most want for my child?” And now ask yourself “Who is the best person to provide these values and opportunities for my child?”
Involve your children in dialogue and choices of what activities that they pursue, and what they will not. Allow your children a voice in the matter and do not shame them when they no longer want to play soccer or the saxophone. It is okay for our children to try new things and it is okay for our children to say when enough is enough.
More important than your child’s activities are the values your children are learning. As a Good Dad, your personal one – on – one time with your children gives you the time to nurture and encourage your children to be the people you most want them to be. In the Spirit of Goldilocks you do not want your children to be too much of this or too much of that. You want them to be just right.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com.
Growing up with a Dad as a pastor, our lives were always under a microscope, being construed and misconstrued. There was no shortage of voiced, or unvoiced, expectations from members of the church, the community, even those who didn’t personally know us. It was a difficult reality, but it taught me a lot about people. More importantly, it taught me a lot about the character of my Father.
We donned the church doors each time they were open, and just as frequently when they weren’t; twice Sunday for church (sometimes Sunday afternoons for service prep) Wednesdays, Thursdays, even Saturdays for the occasional wedding or funeral. Dad worked as a bivocational Pastor, which means he had a regular 9:00 to 5:00 job to put food on our table and keep the lights on at home. I didn’t get to see Dad a lot during the week, and had to share him with 100+ others when he was home, but I knew he was there. He was always there.
I’ve heard my Dad give countless sermons. He somehow always found time to prepare with his 60+ hours of combined work. I remember this ongoing joke Dad used from the pulpit in each church he served, that Sister Moss (my Mom) had heard him preach enough that she would sleep during his sermons, and not to worry if anyone heard her snoring. It always got a laugh. Mom would peer at Dad through the top of her reading glasses with a half grin, letting Dad know she heard him, again. Those were some fun memories. Still, through years of sermons and services, Dad’s words aren’t what impressed me.
Being a ministry family, we would have to find creative ways to get by. I think the current cultural term is “Life Hack”. Our clothes were yard sale specials. Our vehicles were at least 10 years old. If something was broke, Dad would just fix it, or we’d make due. Like the time the reverse went out in our ‘88 Olds, and we had to park on an incline wherever we went to ensure we could back out without having to push. I don’t remember those times as “hard times”. That was just part of life. So it only made sense to me that Dad would pull over behind a stranded vehicle and help, even if we were headed to church, or stop to help change a flat tire in the rain for someone who obviously couldn’t. “It was just a divine delay.”, he would say. But he knew it was more than that. He knew it would have been a missed opportunity to serve others.
What I learned from my Dad didn’t come from words behind a pulpit. It really didn’t come from words at all. The lessons he passed on to me came from seeing him put others before himself. He taught me that you do whatever you have to do to take care of your family. He taught me that giving is always better than receiving. And he taught me to never pass up an opportunity to show love to those who need it most.
I love you, Dad. Thanks for everything.
As Father’s Day approaches, I’m taking time to reflect on what my Dad taught me. My Dad was and is a Great Dad, even though I haven’t lived under his roof since 1995 and only get to see him a half dozen times per year. The lessons he passed on to me are simple and powerful.
Like many well-meaning Dads—me included—he was successful at some things, not so great at others, and occasionally felt like a miserable failure. Every Good Dad I know is his own hardest critic. It’s part of what drives us to be excellent: the constant desire to improve for the sake of those whom we love.
What He DIDN’T Teach Me
When we think of Dads, often we think of typical guy things: sports, power tools, beer, golf, fishing, and BBQ grills. Those are the images commercial retailers want us to have so we can spend lots of money on Father’s Day gifts.
My Dad didn’t play any sports that he’s told me about. He likes to watch college football, but otherwise we were a sports-free house as I was growing up. He showed me some basics like how to catch and throw a baseball and that was about it as far as sports training. This has worked out well for me, since I’ve never had much interest in playing sports, although I do recognize and appreciate good athletes for their hard work and sportsmanship.
He also wasn’t much of a handyman. We didn’t do any father/son projects like building a tree house or changing the oil in the car.
He didn’t drink much while my brother and I were growing up. I can count on one hand the times I saw him have a glass of wine with dinner.
We did go fishing, and he was pretty good at hauling in crappie, blue gill, and the occasional bass. But this was something we learned together mostly as a family. We were not “Bass Masters” by any stretch of the imagination.
Neither my Dad nor I play golf. The closest we got was the putt-putt green.
What He DID Teach Me
As far as practical stuff, my Dad taught me the joy of reading, studying the Bible, and music. He also showed me how to play chess and Monopoly, and he let me win often enough to stay interested and get decent. He also taught me about having the courage to walk away from a situation when you know it’s wrong. He learned this lesson himself at great personal cost. Although he never sat down with me to hash out all the details, I’ve picked up enough from observation and conversations throughout the years to know that sometimes being right makes you almost wish you could live with being wrong. However, there are no compromises when truth is on the line. I’d like to think I’ve lived up to his role model in that way.
He also taught me that in spite of our best plans, life often turns out differently than we anticipate, and that’s okay. Different results do not equate to failure.
Ultimately, the best thing my Dad taught me is that my spiritual walk is the most important thing in my life. Today is a glimpse of what’s coming forever. With that in mind, I know how I should treat the people around me each day and where my goals should always be leading me.
Putting Lessons Into Practice
As an aspiring Good Dad to my kids and husband to my wife, I am tasked to be a role model. There are days I don’t want to be a role model. Sometimes I’m grouchy, tired, lazy, self-centered, and act like a jerk. The words I say and actions I choose can heap misery on my family.
My Dad had the same struggles, I’m certain, but I’d never knew it since he was a master as a role-model of patience, kindness, and smiles. I’m sure there were days he wanted to quit his job and go fishing or sit on the couch and read a book. I know he endured sleepless nights of diaper changing, feeding, and wiping up barf. Just as I did many years later with my own children, he probably wondered what he’d gotten himself into when deciding to have kids. I think this is where his love of coffee began as well. Yet through all of this, I never got a hint that he was tired, stressed, or unfit for the task. His love for my Mom, my brother, and me was always clear when we talked, played, ran around, and worked together.
A Champion Dad
Whatever skills, joys, lessons, or tasks my Dad succeeded or failed to teach me, he taught me that a Good Dad loves his family. We can have a multitude of minor successes and failures in life, but loving my family well is always the most important job I have.
Sid Whiting is the father of three and the husband of one. He lives with his wife Gail and their children in Springfield, Missouri. He also enjoys real estate investing, serving in the 135th Army Band as a percussionist and bass guitarist, and plays in the Praise Band "Soul Purpose" and the "Hallelujah Bells" hand bell choir. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WiseSteward).
Kevin Weaver (Dad): Recently, my middle son, now a married father of two, as well as an Army infantry officer with the 101st Airborne, sat down and penned some thoughts regarding his upbringing, as well as my involvement in it. I am going to be honest, I was taken aback by his somewhat rave review. In hindsight, it would appear that I was some sort of super hero to the boy, when in truth, I often failed…miserably. This same child challenged me more than my other two boys, combined, and I went to bed, many a night, feeling I had been too hard on him. I don’t share his musings to prove what a great dad I was, I share it as a testament to the fact that even though we often believe we are doing nothing but failing our kids, the good stuff is still taking root. Hopefully, you will be encouraged, and not discouraged, by what my son has to say. And perhaps his account proves what my wife and I like to say, “Sometimes, you feel that your kids turn out well in spite of you, not because of you.” Kevin Weaver
Keith Weaver (Son): A father holds his family accountable and must show his children that there are consequences for our actions. I think this is especially important for a father to teach to his sons. With my dad there was no question where the line was drawn, and when the line was crossed my brothers and I knew we had made a mistake. Wrongful action equals consequence, no question about it.
I don’t remember testing my father or pushing the limit to see how much we could get away with. He did an incredible job proving the disciplinary action my brothers and I received was because he loved us and that he was going to do everything in his power to help us become the men God made us to be. No matter how old we got, my dad relentlessly pursued doing what he needed to do to teach us a lesson if we messed up or acted out of selfish reasons. After every punishment we received my father always told us he loved us and why he held us accountable.
We so lack this kind of discipline in our society today. My generation is often so far removed from giving the slightest care as to how their actions can affect others, and even themselves for that matter. I’m generalizing but it seems to me that there are a minority my age, who know how to show respect and think before acting out of emotion (most of the time). Above all we need to know how and why God wants us to live a certain way and abstain from certain actions. I strive to hold my own son and daughter accountable for their actions according to God’s standard as my father did for me. I cannot stress how important the disciplinary action I received from my dad was in shaping me into the man I am today.
Keith: Unwavering Faith
Through all my father has done for me, and in spite of all the sacrifices he’s made, the most important thing he has done for our family is show us what it is to be a man of faith. Unwavering faith in God on display was, and is, something my life never lacked from my dad. He and my mom have tirelessly and continuously done all they can to further the Kingdom of God. How blessed am I to have a father who’s life’s work is to share God’s love with as many people as possible! His love for God and his love for people have been so evident my entire life.
I now strive to be even half the man of God my father is. He has shown how a man should treat his wife and how a father should raise his children and I pray that my family can experience what I’ve experienced through the example my father set for me.
Kevin: If my son’s thoughts prove anything, it proves this…our efforts, even the ones we think our substandard, seem to make a powerful impact if we do them in love
Kevin Weaver, CEO of Network211 and father of three sons, lives with his wife KyAnne in Springfield, MO. He enjoys spending time with family, hunting and watching University of Kansas basketball with his boys! He can be reached at email@example.com. Keith Weaver is stationed at Ft. Campbell where he was recently recognized as an "Honor Grad" for Pathfinder School, one of the toughest in the Army. He is currently the OIC of Headquarters Battalion, and serves as the Platoon Leader for the Recon Platoon.