The Church Connected

Connecting God's People Through Grace

A Message for Fathers

It started out as an ordinary days that starts bad and you know that it’s only going to get worst. I was running late as usual. But somehow, I still managed to make it to the school on time. Once I entered the building, changed clothes and started to teach, things started to get better. I got really excited each time the students understood and applied what I was trying to teach them.

During those times, everything outside of the building, well actually, outside of the training floor melted away. For the time that I was with the students and engaged in the lesson, the only thing that mattered were the students. Whatever calls were on my phone didn’t matter, the work that I had to do after class didn’t matter, all of the problems going on in my life, the city and in the world didn’t matter. My world, at that point in time, consisted of what was happening on the training floor.
As I left the building in a much better frame of mind, I returned a phone call that made me grateful, sorrowful and excited all at the same time….

Today we celebrate Fathers. Yes, it’s Father’s Day! And, today’s article is for those who have their father with them, those who don’t have their father with them and for those who have never had a father with them. Because today’s article is meant to celebrate both the Father and the Father Figure – that male who positively influences our lives with their friendship, access and availability, wisdom and patience.

The Father, both our heavenly Father and our earthly father influences all aspects of our lives, whether we know it or not and whether we acknowledge it or not. Whether our father has been in our life has an effect. Even if he hasn’t been in our life, it has an effect. That effect can be negative or positive.

That is why having a good Father Figure in our life is important. A Father Figure is someone who may or may not be our “biological” father but that person influences us in a way that is always positive, even though it might not seem like it at the time. A Father Figure is always seeking to make us better. A Father Figure is accessible and available. His influence is lasting and ends up helping not only ourselves, but others as well. And a Father Figure is a friend.

In the beginning of this article, the person mentioned that he made a phone call. Well, in this case if you didn’t catch it, the person was me. And, that phone call was to my son. It seemed like we talked about everything under the sun. But, what was so great about our talk was that we were now talking about life, like two grown men – not just father and son.

At that point, I further realized, with a smile on my face, that I was not just his father, but I was a father figure – his father figure. As we talked, I told him that it was during the transition of being able to talk like two men that I lost my father. This gave me a brief moment of sorrow. But, as we talked the gratefulness of being able to get to this point in our relationship was beyond words. I was excited that I could share this time with him and that we were both ready to give and receive.

Yes, it does take both people to be ready. It’s a relationship that grows. It’s also a relationship that’s mutually beneficial. While the Father Figure may be helping us, we may not be ready or willing to be influenced consciously. But we are being influenced nonetheless. It’s when it becomes a two way street that the fireworks happen. Until that time happens, the male in our lives just keeps on doing what he can.

Personally, I’ve had the privilege of having three great Father Figures, that is, three men who have influenced my life in ways that I could never repay. They are my biological father – Robert Bradley Sr., my brother – Chris Bradley and my karate instructor – Sensei Sonny Kim. These three men have influenced me greatly in all aspects of my life. The fact that I can share their wisdom with my son makes the times that I didn’t listen to the father figures in my life,  worth the hard knocks that I suffered.

So since it is Father’s Day today, tell those men who have been an influence in your life, your Father Figure(s), Happy Father’s Day! And while you’re at it be sure to say thank you to your Heavenly Father.

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