As we beginning the weekend for Fathers day I first want to say Happy Fathers Day to my father. He has grown into a very respectful man and I so dearly love him so much and I am proud that he is my Dad.
I wanted to write a little about being a Father…but more importantly being a Father that is a soldier or Veteran. I had the privilege of being a father for the last year I was in the military and I will have to tell you leaving for more than a day was tough. Especially for someone as independent as I was. I knew the wife would be there when I got home and she could take care of herself, but once a child came into the picture it changed the dynamic of being a soldier. There was this new life that I had to protect and no matter how much you told me that they were safe my father instincts kicked in. I finally understood more of why I was doing what I was doing in the military and could relate to so many that joined with already having a family or those that had growing families in the military.
When I left service I thought that feeling was going to leave and it never did. It was instilled in me and when I would have to work weekends or be at work late and not even get to tuck my kids in for bed really got to me. In the last year or so my eyes have been opened more of why this feeling was there and more of what it means to be a father. Its not something anyone can teach you. You just learn it. When I was in the military I was a soldier – protecting this country – so the protection instinct was there. When I got out I just wanted to spend time with them and couldn’t understand why I was wasting so much time at work and not at home. But now there is a new purpose for that frustration. Its the idea that just about every other Father out there has. To give my kids the life I never had and to give them a better world to live in. Those are just some of the reasons I work a 40 hour a week job, Volunteer with CVA, go on 6 to 8 hour rides with fellow Veterans on Saturday on my bike, why I am taking on new adventures through writing, why working with lawmakers to fix issues is so important to me. I only have a short time before my children decide the direction their life is going to go. And I want to do everything I can now to make sure when that time comes that they adventure out into a world that is protected, familiar, and has all the opportunities that they possibly can. Through our actions as fathers our children will grow in a different way than with anyone else. Now I am not implying that a Mothers actions is any different, it really depends on the character and design of the household. Its through our actions as parents that put our children on the path of greatness or failure.
I always get asked the question, “With all the things you have experienced and have gone through, would you encourage your children to join the military?” My response is always the same….I’m preparing them now to make that decision. No matter what I have been through outside the military, being apart of the Army and serving my country is the greatest achievement of my life. Sometimes the things that define you will break you, but its how you define that break that defines you as a person. If it was my way, every 18 year old would have to serve a minimum of 4 years in the military unless they have a scholarship or their school is already paid for for a minimum of 4 years. I will never push my children to join, but don’t think I won’t sell it to them likes is their best option.
I not only have a duty to my country, my fellow veterans, but as a father I have the highest duties….to love, protect, guide, teach, and prepare them for the future in this world. I hope I do that everyday by my actions and not by my words.
To all fathers out there I pray for an amazing fathers day and a time of peace and comfort that we live in the greatest country in the world that celebrates Fathers each year on this special day. I challenge you to spend just a little bit more time with your children this weekend. Do what they want to do, give into the kids side of you and desire to play with your children. Time is all they want…and most days…time is all they need to really feel loved. To those that are deployed and can’t spend time with your children….just know you are in my prayers and whatever is keeping you from your children I hope its for all the right reasons and your children know.
Again- HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!