The Gift of Yourself

I had the opportunity today to speak at an All Pro Dad event at Will's school today. All Pro Dad was created by Tony Dungy and co. in the mid-90s to encourage fathers to be more engaged with their children. Our principal at Pittsboro Elementary hosts several of these events every year. Will and I have really enjoyed going to them together.

Here's a sense of what I shared today ...

The theme for this month was "Giving."

I started by thinking about the gifts Will has given me.

One memorable gift was a Superman t-shirt. He was really into superheroes and wanted me to be able to play with him. He knew that Superman was my favorite superhero, so he did the math and picked out a shirt for me. He built a bridge for me to connect with him.

Another memorable gift came this past summer when Will came home from art camp excited to tell me about these things called "Pokémon." We could catch them with my cell phone if I downloaded the game app. Hours of walking around our neighborhood, Pittsboro, and college campuses have ensued. Once again, he built a bridge for me to connect with him.

This pattern is repeated again and again in my relationship with my kids. In their own way, they create space for me to connect with them. They take initiative at this stage. What will I do with their bridges?

I'm so often exhausted by work and life. Playing superheroes or Pokémon takes energy that I struggle to find. But I do. I have to. I want to.

My kids build bridges so that I can give them the gift of myself: my presence, my attention, my love.

Of course, this places us right on the edge of the great and wonderful mystery of our relationship with God. He joyfully walks across the bridges we build and reaches down to us, joins our silly games, and cares for us.

One of the best gifts a dad can give his kids is the gift of himself.

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