I have failed as a father, and will do so again

Happy Father’s Day, a day late.

I have said for many years that my goal as a father was to be a million times a better father than my father, and I pray my son is 2 million times a better father than I.

I rarely understood my father, which is why he and I didn’t talk for more than a year before his death from cancer.

He was an alcoholic long before that and that ruined his relationships – especially ours.

I know what is said about alcoholics – disease and all that.

I don’t buy it.

It’s selfishness.

Period.

It’s about putting a lot of things ahead of being a father.

My dad was good at it.

To this day I still do not know how my mother stayed with him that long.

It befuddles me, really.

But, it wasn’t my choice.

It was my choice to not speak to my dad until the day I received a phone call from my uncle (his brother) that he had died. My uncle, by the way, was also an alcoholic and didn’t speak to his child for a year before he died alone.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: But bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” -Ephesians 6:4

In a way, my father shaped how I would be a father.

He wasn’t involved in my teen years and I swore I would always be involved with my children.

And, I was.

I love the relationship I have with my daughter and son.

Not always easy. Not always smooth.

But, nothing ever is.

I truly think we fathers forget the influence we have on our children and their friends.

Sure, we are dorks at times to our kids, not cool at other times and complete pains in the rear most other times, but so what?

Sure, there are many times I failed as a father and I will fail again.

But, unlike most, I don’t view failure as a sin, or something to hide from.

It’s failure and it’s non-fatal.

When I fail, I get my large butt off the deck and try to be better. It’s really not hard at all.

I don’t view “fail” as a four-letter word. It is just something we all do daily.

I don’t understand why people cannot say the word “fail” much like Arthur Fonzarelli couldn’t say “wrong.”

It’s not a life sentence.

I’m not a failure for the rest of my life. I just failed at something and move on.

I will fail again the next day.

And, I move on.

We refuse to “fail” kids in school.

We socially promote them.

We get them out of there so someone else can deal with them.

Why?

It’s a social thing.

Back in the day it was my fault when I got a bad grade.

Now, the teacher sucks.

The teacher has failed at educating a child.

Well, no.

The child doesn’t want to be educated and would rather make each day a horror for everyone else.

“My child wouldn’t do that,” says a mother and father.

Um, yes, your child did that and does that every day.

Hello, 10th grade.

The teacher is too hard.

Do you know how many times I have heard that?

No, the teacher is not too hard.

The teacher is actually trying to make our kids accountable for something.

But, the teacher gives out so much homework.

And so what?

We act like our kids won’t raise their game to that level.

Kids are incredibly resilient.

We, for some reason, want to shelter them from that resiliency.

We, folks, won’t let them fail.

I hate seeing my kids hurt. I didn’t like when they failed.

But, they did and they are better for it.

One of my biggest jobs as a father is to be able to kick them in the rear and, 10 seconds later, put my arm around them.

That is not always an easy thing to do.

My job is to let them really not like me because of my decisions.

I’m OK with that.

They still love me and I know it.

And, I’m incredibly blessed because I know it daily.

There are more than 1,600 Bible references to the word “Father” is the ESV Bible. We, as fathers, are commanded to be at our best.

Sometimes, our best is really bad, but, that does not excuse us from the responsibility and accountability of being “Dad.”

Let’s be better every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every month of every year. Let’s push each other to be better Fathers. We should expect the best out of each other and strive daily to be the best.

And, when we fail, which we will do, be there to help each other up.

Sergio Garcia was asked Saturday night about getting the monkey off his back if he finally wins a major.

“On my back or on my bag?” he said as laughter ensued. “No, there’s no monkeys. That’s nonsense. At the end of the day, the only thing I can do is give myself chances. Play well. And if it happens, it happens.”

He was then asked how it would feel to finally win a major (he has finished 10 times in the top 5).

“I don’t know, you know,” Garcia said. “I will only know the day that it happens. So it is easy for me to stand here and tell you it will mean this or that, but until it happens, you never know.”

There are too many times we want to know the answer to something we cannot answer.

Sergio said it.

“I don’t know,” he said.

We can’t fathom when someone says, “I don’t know.”

We think it is a copout or something.

When, in reality, we just don’t know.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com or followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike).