Setting the example—Happy Father’s Day

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
Umberto Eco

(3 AM 26.5 years ago / Tanner Hospital / Julie Cook)

(groom and best man/ Julie Cook / 2014)

Parenthood has never come with an instruction manual–
much to the frustration of many a first time parent.

On top of not having a step by step manual,
throw in having no clue as how to be a parent—
as your own background of dysfunctional raising,
by two individuals who truly had no business really being parents,
left only an example of what not to do.

Forget manuals, your parents didn’t even try to pretend they knew what they were doing.
Throw in moving 5 times before your were 8. . .throwing out all thoughts of stability.
Throw in alcohol.
Throw in abuse.
Throw in the fact that this was a time when no one talked about such. . .
There were no Betty Ford clinics, no fashionable rehabs, just the state mental hospital.
How were you to tell your friends that your dad’s on another binge and was taken away kicking and screaming?
Throw in the fact your coaches, teachers and friends all saw the bruises, but again, this was a time when such things weren’t discussed out in the open, only in secretive hushed tones.

Mix all of that and the fact that you hadn’t really known what it was to be a husband and now you waited until you were 40 to start a family. . .
You had only one clue as to where you should start. . . you simply knew what NOT to do. . .
And so you ran with it. . .

Add in being. . .
Determined to be different
Never to repeat the same offenses you yourself endured.

And so you began your own journey into parenthood, with great trepidation, almost 27 years ago.

It wasn’t easy.
You immediately gave up smoking
You named him yourself
You worked long hours
You changed diapers
You made him laugh for the very first time
You gave him your full attention, each evening you were home, despite having worked 14 hour days
You fed him in the middle of the night allowing your wife some precious sleep
You never wanted to exclude him
You held him tight before his surgery
You cried when he was hurt
You offered him the gift of Nature.
You took him fishing, camping, hunting, hiking
You took him to the ocean’s shore for his very first time
You taught him how to swim
You bought him a boogie board and later a surf board.
You disciplined him when you absolutely had to, and it about killed you
You didn’t care when he couldn’t follow in your same athletic agilities and accomplishments.
You worried
You fretted
You cried
You obsessed
You gave him your old truck
You reluctantly bought him a new truck when he wrecked your old one
You afforded him college, to the place of his dreams, that turned out not to be a dream.
You later helped him settle into a place more suited for him.
Always teaching him how to begin again.
You offered comfort and only the positive when he fell, when he failed, when he lost.

You showed him what it means to be a man.
To be responsible.
To get up and try again when things look hopeless.
You taught him how to run forward. . .running toward the trouble, rather then running from the trouble.
You demonstrated that a man never hides from his troubles or mistakes.
You showed him what unconditional love is all about with your own attention to the father who never deserved your concern or care.
You demonstrated how to be a husband during both the good and the bad life has to offer.
You showed him how to give abundantly when it was little he would receive in return.
You demonstrated how to be honest in a dishonest world.
You taught him to be just, forgiving, strong, determined while keeping a gentle touch.
Reminding him to always walk with integrity while holding his head high. . .

You did this on your own. . .
With no direction
No manual
No help from your own father. . .
You demonstrated to your son, what being a real father is all about. . .
By giving him the greatest gift possible. . .
yourself. . .

Happy Father’s Day my love. . . .

11 comments on “Setting the example—Happy Father’s Day

  1. Wally Fry says:

    Oh Julie

    That was just wonderful. Wow. What an amazing testimony to what can be done, despite our own past and influences, with the guidance of God our Father. Even when we don’t know how to be one, He can teach us. This is my favorite thing I have read from you by leaps and bounds, thanks so much for it this morning.

    • Thank you Wally for such kind words—I had written the post yesterday and then read your post last evening and was so struck by the similarities in upbringings—it is so hard not having examples for our children as to how to be a spouse as well as parent—God’s hand and Grace has poured out abundantly upon us, despite of us 🙂
      Happy Father’s day to us all. . .

  2. Kentucky Angel says:

    This is so great Julie. Fathers really do teach us, with the help of the Father of all helping from heaven. My dad passed away 15 years ago, but he is still watching over us, My older brother stepped in to take his place as if we are all still kids depending on our parents to take care of us. I probably should have sent him a card for this special day, but instead I’ll spend the day remembering my dad, and my Father in heaven, and being thankful for them both. Hugs from Kentucky

  3. Nicodemas says:

    Wow, so powerful! Thank you for this Julie. I especially love the thoughts of learning without an example, and the giving of ourselves. Just wonderful.!

    • Thank you Nicodemas—parenting is never easy as it is fraught with so many emotions, issues, dramas and traumas for the best of parents—throw in our own shortcomings and burdens—and it’s a wonder any of us turn out as we do 🙂
      I certainly believe in Grace—and claim to be a product of that Grace and I am thankful that my son was fortunate to have such a dad—-Happy Father’s Day Nicodemas—–

  4. Lynda says:

    Julie, this is such an amazing tribute to your wonderful husband and the father of your son! You had he have nurtured a very close-knit family relationship. Blessings to all of you!

  5. Wow! What a loving and wonderful tribute to your husband and the father of your child. I sure hope your son is very aware of what a good dad he has and how against the odds that he was. Give him a hug and wish hin a happy Father’s day for me. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  6. Joy says:

    Just getting to read this. Tears! He truly is a great man and a treasure. Much love to you both!

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