I am not a dad yet. One day I hope to be. Despite my lack of experience I know Dads have a lot of hard work cut out for them. It’s not just the pressure of being a role model for your children, it’s the daily grind of loving fragile lives before your selfish needs.

Though I am not sure I how I will fare as a Dad, I have a great example to look up to.

I never grew up with my Dad. He lived in England while my mother and I lived in Scotland. Despite such a large distance and the trial of divorce, my father wrote me letters on a monthly basis. He also called me every week.

As I grew a little older I would board a plane (with aid of my mother) and travel to visit him in England. Such visits are some of my best memories. We would go camping, exploring castles or simply stay up into the night watching TV. On a few occasions we journeyed to Northern Ireland to visit family.

On one of my visits, as a young adult, my Dad told me of a conscious decision he made when I was a child. He realised the great challenge it would be to build a relationship with me. I was young and far away in another country. He chose, despite the challenge, that before God he would always seek to be apart of my life.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to face such a decision. It wasn’t a spur of the moment idea but a life time commitment.

I had no idea of course. I was too young to understand. My father would write and due to His prayers, encouragement and my mother’s input, I later set my life to follow God. That now is part of my father’s inheritance. He, in essence, helped lead me to faith in Christ Jesus.

For that I cannot thank Him enough.

It was a quick decision for me to come to New Zealand as an 18 year old. It was only a 6 month visit. When 6 months turned into a few years I was becoming aware of the implications it would have on my parents. Especially my Dad who already battled to be part of my life. Despite this, he still emails and sends me gifts.

Time draws nearer for me to be a father (no my wife is not pregnant, calm down everyone) and I have had time to reflect on this subject and on my own fathers choices. No he is not perfect and for that I am glad. Love cannot be real until it sees imperfections and consciously embraces regardless. I would be proud to be like my Dad. I love him very much and hope that I too can be as responsible as he has been.

I wanted to honour him and write this as a tribute to Him.

I encourage you to love your parents too. I once found it easy to find flaws and failings. In maturity I have discovered I have enough flaws. It is always better to do what my dad did… does. Commit to loving despite the challenges.

I love you dad. You are a huge inspiration. Without you I would have no faith.

From your son,

Matt

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