There’s a greeting card that sits on our bathroom counter. The cover reads, “You’re still the hottest guy in the room.”
I gave it to my husband for his birthday last year, but it remains on our counter to this day because I want this man of mine being reminded every morning of what I wrote inside -- of just why he’s still the hottest guy in the room.
See, most mornings when I come downstairs I find a copy of Jodie Berndt’s book, “Praying the Scriptures for your Children” opened up and face down on the kitchen counter, alongside an empty cup of coffee.
I know, on these mornings, that my husband spent a few moments praying for our kids before taking off for work.
He is long gone before the four boys and I make our way to the kitchen but oh how I love the book on the counter that ever so gently says to our boys, “Your earthly father has been hanging out with your Heavenly Father, praying very specifically about each one of you!”
Prayer. It’s the greatest gift he gives our boys. It’s where we do our best parenting -- alongside God, partnering in the work He is doing in and through our boys.
But there are other gifts – invaluable gifts -- this man of mine gives our boys that makes him our hero.
He gives them his time. And nothing says I love you like time. Nothing. It’s not that he has a lot of extra time. He doesn’t. But he makes it.
He runs a large company by day and throws the ball in the backyard by night. He takes them on individual outings to ensure they each feel not just seen, but heard. He works his tail off to provide for us but he ensures our boys know we are his happy place.
He gives them his wisdom. He invests in their lives by speaking truth to their hearts. At night, it’s not unusual to find him reading the Bible with them, instructing them in God’s Word and equipping them with Godly wisdom for the challenges they are facing. He teaches them how to navigate success and failure with the grace and courage.
He gives them his blessing. He writes occasional notes to each of our boys expressing his delight in them and his love for them. Sometimes it’s just a sentence or two of encouragement, left on the kitchen counter for them to discover when they come downstairs in the morning. And sometimes it’s a lengthier letter expressing some things that need to be said. Each letter is saved by my boys – filling a box that will be treasured for the rest of their lives.
His gives them his humanity. He isn’t afraid to say the nine hardest words, “I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
In doing so, he is teaching our boys, not just with his words but with his life, what a man of extraordinary strength and humility looks like.
He’s quick to admit when he’s made a mistake and seek forgiveness, and in doing so, he’s made our home a safe place for our boys to the do the same.
He gives them permission to be honest about their own weaknesses. We are a family that makes mistakes -- lots of them -- but we are also a family that knows how to forgive.
He gives them perspective. In a world that values earthly treasure, he gives our boys eternal perspective. This man of mine knows that everything we are and everything we have is a gift from God. He lives his life sacrificially, not seeking to get more but looking for ways to give more. He guides our boys in using the gifts God has given them for God’s kingdom purposes.
And finally, he gives them Jesus. See, I’ve heard it said that children see earthly fathers as a reflection of their Heavenly Father – that children tend to associate the character of their dad with the character of God. So while this man of mine isn’t perfect – (no earthly father is!) He gives our boys just a glimpse of what it feels like to be welcomed and accepted and loved by their Heavenly Father.
It’s why he’s still the hottest guy in the room. Painfully handsome, yes. But more than that, he’s a man who knows and cherishes the significant role he plays in the lives of our boys.
Happy Father’s Day Mike. We couldn’t love you more.
Jeannie Cunnion is the author of "Parenting the Wholehearted Child," and a blogger at www.jeanniecunnion.com. She has a Master's degree in Social Work, and her background combines counseling, writing, and speaking about parenting and adoption issues. Jeannie and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of four wild and awesome boys.