Statistically, I’m not sure I’ve done so well at this fatherhood job. That’s not to say I’m a failure. I’ll stack my progeny against anyone else, knowing that my children are accomplished, healthy, wholesome and winsome. But recent happenings the first half of 2015 certainly have me second guessing.

For those of you sleeping in Gastonia, I have a beautiful bride of 30+ years and we have five children. No, we’re not a blended family. These five children are biologically ours. We home educated these five and I have to say, with all sincerity, they are great. Every one of them is great. No hesitations. They each have their quirks, their foibles, but we love each one and we’re unbelievably proud of each one. They range in age from 29 to 20. We have four daughters and one son. The older four are married to wonderful spouses. In fact, I helped to vet and hand pick my three sons-in-law. They are great leaders, Bible students and loving husbands. My son selected a most beautiful and lovely lady as his bride and I think she’s spectacular.

So what’s the beef?

My son has recently adjusted his faith position and my youngest daughter has chosen to engage a man that did not see value in receiving my blessing over his union with my daughter. Both of these situations have me wondering… Am I batting three out of five? That’s 60%. Where I come from that’s a failing grade.

With regard to my Son, I have great respect for his intellect. I admire his dedication and I am jealous of his steadfastness. His current perspective has drawn him away from our community and I miss him terribly. Did I fail to communicate and foster multi-generational faithfulness? I’m not convinced yet. We have a good relationship that I hope is open and sharing as i desire. In the mean time, I am watching to hear the voice of the boy I once knew in the man that stands before me.

My youngest daughter is in love with a man that does not practice our faith. This is a big deal. In addition, her love for him has caused her to make some poor decisions and ultimately to choose him over my way of doing things. Is this failure as a father? I’m beginning to think that my job, at least at this stage, is more direction than dogma. So she has rejected my decision, does that mean she’s making a mistake? Perhaps. Does that mean I don’t love her? G-d forbid. If G-d withdrew His love for me when I chose a path other than His, I would be forever lost. No, He loves me, reproves me and often allows me to learn from my mistakes. In this case, others are involved. My other children are lamenting the schism between my daughter and I, and her relationship with this outsider. They’re wondering if they should invite my daughter (and her soon to be husband) to family gatherings, if they know that I’ll be there. He was fairly disrespectful to my bride and I. I suspect they are taking up an offense for me.

To complicate matters a little, this man is a Jew. I think that’s a great thing, not a bad thing. My family practices Judaism – of the Messianic favor. We believe Yeshua is the promised Messiah of Israel. Last I heard, this man doesn’t know the G-d of Israel, but he’s learning. He just doesn’t want to learn with me.

So there you have it. Three daughters – three fabulous sons-in-law that see a patriarchal faith continuing down the line from generation to generation. Daughters under their father’s authority until they stand under the chuppah and come under their husband’s authority. One son blazing a faith path we have not experienced and one daughter blazing a path no one wants to experience – estranged from a large, loving family.

Is that failure?

After much soul searching and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that fathers are successful if they impact their children for good. We are good fathers if our children are influenced for good by our deeds, our faith and our words.

This poor guy my daughter as fallen in love with has no means of making things right with my family. Sure, he could make a great apology and heal the wounds he has created with my bride and I, but he has no ability to affect my children’s sentiments towards him. Is it not the same with us and HaShem? Were we not estranged from G-d, afar off, strangers to the promises, hopelessly lost? But G-d (our Father) in His great love with which He loved us, brought us near, made us co-heirs with his children, and partakers of HIs promises. This is the example of a true, wonderful, godly father. He fixes the problems his children have created. He makes amends. He rights the wrongs. He loves his children in spite of their sins.

So Mary, I firmly disagree with your decision to forsake our tradition, but I understand. But I will work to ensure your relationship with me is sound. I am your father. It’s not a role that can be dismissed. I will support you in your disobedience.

Andrew, I believe that you could have handled several situations in the past six months better than you did. It turns out you’re not the villain in this story. You are the cause of much angst and turmoil, but that was not your intent. You fell in love with one of the most lovely creatures on the planet – my daughter. You and she have determined to wed in spite of my counsel at this time against it. There’s nothing I can do to stop it. However, I can accept you and Mary into our family and set an example of love and tolerance for the rest of my children. This I will do, consistent with the examples of my G-d and my Rebbe, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Andrew, you have an open invitation to come to my home, make peace, and join our family. It won’t be an easy road. I’m sure there will be bumps along the way. No doubt the rest of my family may not see the wisdom of this course of action immediately, but I’d rather be an agent of influence and counsel than a root of bitterness and contempt. Give me a call or shoot me an email; and let’s get on with life.

So there you have it. I may not be the best father on the planet, but I have strived to do the best for my children and my family for nearly 30 years. What do you think? Post a comment for me.

Let’s see what the future holds… and we’ll touch base on another Father’s Day sometime soon.

Shalom,

Yosef ben Yosef

Advertisements