What grabs you about Father's Day? What is so special about being a dad? There are many great dads and plenty of mediocre or absent dads. More likely, most of us fathers have been great at important times and not so great or even poor dads at other times. Do you aspire to the title of Dad?
I realized that not everyone is cut out for fatherhood; I get and understand this fact of life. Life is complex and often does not set everyone up well for his or her life duties. This particular blog post will not address these harsh realities, other than to say goodness can still come from tough situations, people do change with time, and most importantly boys from these tough situations often can and do become great dads themselves. Instead, I am going to focus on what inspires me about this particular picture of a father and his adult-age son.
Our world needs great men and great dads, because only men can mentor a boy into a man. I am grabbed by the powerful image of a father in his later part of life standing side-by-side with his adult-age son. I’m inspired by this depiction of the progression of life. The other stages of fatherhood have been already navigated: super hero, disciplinarian, teacher, coach, and counselor. Now new roles are assumed: advisor, mentor, and hopefully even friend.
This past weekend, the Flanagan men came through Ironworks, Men’s Grooming & Supply Co. and I happened to be there and got talking with them. I learned a lot. Michael, the dad, is a retired 30-year Army officer, who recently moved to Richmond to be close to his son, and Thomas, his son, recently bought and now co-owns and runs Restoration Builders of Virginia. Through our brief interaction and this quick photo, I was once again inspired about this idea of building great men, as well as what it takes to make a friendship work. Here you have a son, forging his own way and his dad watching; most likely his dad can’t fully relate to the risks & complexities of being a small business owner. Yet, here he is, standing by and finding ways to contribute in his new role as advisor and mentor.
Why am I inspired? Well, I share with you a picture of 2 men who have already invested a lot in each other, yet are continuing to invest in their relationship to take it to new levels. I see a lot in this photo. I see respect and enjoyment in this picture, I see a proud father watching his son run a small company. I see a son, who respects his dad and invites him into his life. I see a dad who is still engaged, cares, and gives input where needed. I see a son who is bold and who is making his mark on the world, his way. All these ‘pictures’ are good and excellent, and I want the same for my boys, because I know this is how it should be. I have a college age daughter and two teenage boys of my own. I’m grateful for this, and I enjoy the challenge of making my boys into men, and helping a daughter become a confident women.