A guest blog from Michael Klumpp, author The Single Dad's Survival Guide (Waterbrook Press 2003)
Grim title, right? But blue is how many single dad’s feel on Father’s Day. Whether because in the exchange of kids with exes or just because we are aware of our failures in a broken and fallen world, Father’s Day can be a grim day for single dads.
The problem is it’s the one day of the year we celebrate fatherhood. Although the holiday should be celebrated, if our fathering paradigm is less than perfect, we have cause to mourn. So our feelings can range from bittersweet to just plain bitter.
You see, fatherhood is a calling that we enter into without adequate preparation. There’s no manual for success. It’s a full time calling and the celebration needs to begin in our hearts—not from outside. If we wait for acknowledgment in order to feel adequate, we may likely never feel up to standard. But there is God, the one who called and trusted us to lead our family in the first place.
As fathers we are the leader of the family. With the Lord’s help we can move forward with assurance, knowing that we are likely to succeed and fail—and that’s okay. No father, however confident, believes for a moment they are incapable of mistakes. Rather than celebrate failure we can learn from it, ask God to help us improve and celebrate success. With God’s grace we can mark the moment and then push on, because tomorrow comes with new challenges. We can‘t afford to linger on the past.
Epictetus once said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do”
This Father’s Day celebrate by:
· Recognizing your best efforts and trusting God more.
· Thanking God for giving you strength to give what you gave.
· Make up your mind to move forward with humility.
· Forget what lies outside your control and push on.
When we remember not to judge what we did yesterday by what we know today—then we can live with no regret—no bitterness. Because it’s counter-productive.
I’m proud of all you fathers—especially you single dads.
Happy Father’s Day.
Mike Klumpp is a writer, martial arts instructor, and former pastor who became a single dad when his four children were between five and fifteen years of age. Mike is now remarried and living in Texas.