*Last week, the following post appeared on my column at The Good Men Project. *
On December 17, 2010, my partner gave birth to our first child. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Within three years, we had two more children. From the moment I became a dad, I was determined to make every day Father’s Day.
Holidays can serve as occasions marked by positive and negative emotions. For some, Father’s Day stirs up fond memories of time with family and showering dad with gifts and compliments. Others resent this day to celebrate fathers, because of poor relationships or the thoughts it conjures of a painful loss.
I grew up with mixed emotions around Father’s Day. These emotions had nothing to do with my dad’s ability to serve as a father. Yes, I often complained about his work schedule that frequently kept him away from home, but in many ways, my dad provided my sisters and me with a loving environment. He provided us with an excellent example of how to raise our children. Despite my father's positive behaviors, I remained torn about whether to celebrate Father’s Day because I saw it as another invented Hallmark holiday to support the economy and capitalism.
We have been convinced that demonstrating love begins with showing it through the offering of expensive things.
There is a part of me that continues to see holidays as one more reason to purchase unnecessary stuff. We have been convinced that demonstrating love begins with showing it through the offering of expensive things. Too often we fail to remember the intangible gifts of love that can have a more lasting impact on the recipient. When was the last time you called your father or another loved one to say hi, or I love you simply?
I understand the need to maintain a healthy economy. As a businessperson, I depend on others to buy my products and services. Exchanging some form of currency for goods and services is necessary to keep our world moving toward progress. Holidays offer us encouragement to participate in the market.
I’ve become less stringent over the years and learned to also look for the positivity in holidays. These times of the year serve as a reason for many families to come together. We are often busy with work, school, entrepreneurial, or other responsibilities and fail to make time to give mindful attention to our loved ones. If you’re a father or blessed to have one who is healthy and present in your life, this day gives you an excuse to take a moment and give thanks.
I am a father to three young children. This day, similar to every day, I am thankful to have these three beautiful young people in my life. There is no need for them to purchase me anything as an expression of their love. Their presence is present enough for me.
On this Father’s Day, I want to give my children a gift. This gift does not have monetary value today, but it can lead to an abundance of opportunities in the future. The gift I have for my children is a lesson that I recently learned after a setback.
Recently, I traveled to the United States for an employment opportunity. During the campus visit, I did my best to provide an excellent representation of my potential to make valuable contributions to the university and community. Last Wednesday, they informed me that I did not get the position. Initially, I was upset but later came to understand that the denial empowers me to offer this teachable lesson to my children and others.
Lisa Nichols’s grandmother said, “man’s rejection is God’s protection.” Through my challenges with locating employment and business opportunities that lead to consistent income, I have learned much about the protection of God. In today’s market, rejections often come with the territory of applying for academic jobs, sending writing pitches to publications, or emailing executives for consulting opportunities. This latest denial is one of many that I have experienced over the last five years.
I have come to understand that rejections, failures, denials, and challenges do not determine my value in this world. Today, I am teaching my children to realize that their self-worth is not from a source outside the divinity that lives inside them. Through my triumphs and challenges, I am gifting them to learn from today's failures in preparation for tomorrow’s successes.
When rejected for the academic position, I was only told, "you were not a good fit." They did not provide me with the feedback I desired. I was upset, but my body, mind, and spirit remained intact. I decided to push forward with building my business, applying for jobs, and making the impact I am called to do in the world on this Father’s Day and every day that I am blessed with life.
If this post resonates with you, please consider contributing to the campaign I am supporting this month. The link is here.