Saturday, June 15, 2013

Joe Cramer-Being a Father

It's that time of year again when we get congratulated for being dads. I stop by the cemetery to do some looking back on being the lucky son of my own dad. I can't thank him enough. Because I may have been what could be called a bit of a loose cannon growing up, I'm not so sure congratulations are in order for my dad. Maybe a word or two of concern or understanding and a gold medal would be better. I was a good kid, a good son, most of the time. But there were a few times when some of my choices must have tested my father's patience far beyond most human expectations. How I am not sure, but somehow good old dad managed to handle my disruptive behavior and remain patient and caring and ready to move forward. My dad forged an attitude of being able to overcome just about anything in my mind that carries me through all these years since he went to the great eternal fishing sight he always dreamed of. I believe the attitude he expressed so well is exactly what keeps a real fisherman on the water long after the fish stop biting. Along with the attitude he also gave me perfect examples of what forgiveness and unconditional love meant. He had a lot of that forgiving to do with me. My maturity took a few turns here and there so he had a regular workout in that category. Yet, he still insisted I was a gift and on Father's day he felt he should be thanking all those involved in his being a father instead of being thanked. Humble and grateful for who he was. How can a guy go wrong with a dad like that? That's why I dedicated my book "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" in part to him.

That brings me to who I am as far as being a father. I had to become one before I fully understood my dad's humility. Truthfully, I rather enjoy the calls and cards and maybe a special meal or activity. But, that's where it stops these days. I am lucky to have the kids and grandkids I have. I trust that in some way I was a good example in their lives too. At least they are still talking to me and answer the phone when I call. It's a privilege and an honor to be their father. Being a dad came with a heavy responsibility and due to my own dad's ability and love I was ale to meet that obligation the best way I could and watched them grow and mature into remarkable parents themselves. That is so very cool!

So on Father's Day I offer my congratulations to the dads everywhere that did their best to be there for their kids. You had a job to do and you did it. We get some static sometimes, actually a lot of times: for working too much, being too strict, expecting too much, believing kids should except their own consequences, sometimes having to be the enforcer of those consequences, for even being in a place of authority. Well, in His wisdom, God placed us where we are and made us the way we are. Being a good father means that, no matter how much we are criticized, we must remain true to our goal of being the best dad we can. It's our job and our privilege and our honor. Hey guys, here's to you and me for being there, loving and protecting our kids and leading them into the future knowing we stuck with them through thick and thin. Good Job! Happy Father's Day!

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