Reflection: The role of fatherGO Project
What comes to mind when you think about the role of a father? In honor of Father’s Day, our coworker Derek Nelson reflects on this question:
When I think about the role of a father, I think of a shepherd. I think of a man offering guidance and discernment. I think of a man teaching and crafting, not because he is right, but because he has learned himself. He has learned through hardship or because someone was there to teach him. I think about my own father. I think about my father-in-law. I think about my mentors, coaches, teachers. They all played a key role in shepherding me. Shaping me into the man I am today.
I’ve been blessed to have several men in my life who have played a small role of father.
In 2012, I came to a realization that there are a lot of men in my proximity who desire someone to play the role of father. Of shepherd. It is a desire that all men have, deep down inside. They desire to be invested in, to be challenged, to be loved. I’ve had the privilege to walk alongside several men as they search to find out more about what it means to be invested in and to give back and invest in others. You see, once it clicks —that someone loves you and wants what is best for you. That they care what you do and how you do it. That they care about who you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Men want to see that for other men.
I’ve been lucky enough to understand the love of an earthly father. I’ve also been lucky enough to encounter the love of THE Father. I know that no matter my brokenness, no matter my shame, I am loved. His word washes over me in a way the provides me guidance, shepherding, teaching, crafting. All of that because He is right. I get the opportunity to gather weekly with other men in a small coffee shop to discuss how our Father desires more for us. How He wants us to live in a way that leads our families, how we interact with our neighbors, how we serve our co-workers. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that I desire that for you, too.
As we approach Father’s Day, I want to say thank you to all the men in my life who have played a small role of father.
Who have invested in me to know the one true Father. I want to say thank you to all of the men out there who have chosen to invest in the life of another man. Those men who have chosen to invest in the life of a child, whether they are biologically theirs or not. I want to say thank you to those men who stand up for those who can stand up for themselves.
Thank you for being a father.