Around Father’s day I found myself doing what many productive people do in their spare time scrolling Facebook. I periodically do this because I do not have cable and I am too lazy to look up the news. Facebook is much like my modern-day newspaper except it is more interesting. I do not have to sift through sections I do not like. I do not have to pay attention to how it is folded or how to navigate an article that is on more than one page. I also am able to cater the feed to the things that interest me. Every now and then though, Facebook (like everything in life I guess) threw me a surprise on one of their ‘suggested pages’ that I would not have normally paid attention to.
The video caught my eye because the first thing that appeared was this quote: “94% of teens ask the internet for advice before their dads.” For a moment, I felt slightly puzzled as I thought of growing up with my dad. I paused that thought and watched the short video sponsored by Gillette. The scene opens to different dads being interviewed about the struggles of being a dad. They all spoke about how it was hard and that kids jump to technology. The dads were all then asked “do your kids come to you as much as you went to your dad?” They all answered in their own disappointing way “no.” The next scene opens to the sons individually going into a room with a computer. They are all told to ask how to do something they did not know. One asked how to ask a girl out, another asked how they could tie a tie. Another asked how to cook an egg and the final son asked how to shave. They are then recorded in their tireless effort to practice these things with little success. Then we see the father enter the rooms with their son and teach them how to do these things. As I am watching these fathers teach their sons how to cook eggs, how to talk to a woman, how to shave and how to put a tie on I experience a flood of emotions, and I sat in my office and cried.
It brought me back to growing up with my father. When I was young we only had dial-up, and it was state-of-the-art at that time. I did not grow up asking google how to do stuff, I asked my father.
My father has always been a talented guy. He is the handy man kind of dad. He is the old school “I’m not paying someone to do that” guy. We hardly ever paid for anyone to fix anything at our house or on our cars. My dad did it all. He remodeled the house. He installed flooring, counter tops, repaired well pumps, did plumbing, wiring, rebuilt engines, fixed brakes, custom-built guns, worked on computers, and even made some mean chili. I have always loved to learn and was the gopher for many home projects with my father. All along the way I would try to learn from him. Many projects we started I never thought would be completed and yet, somehow, we always got the job done.
Watching my father complete projects that in my mind seemed impossible made me confident in his judgment. If I had a question on how something worked, I always asked dad. But this was not limited to home projects, I asked him about almost everything. I would ask questions about politics, science, history, geography, home repairs, how things work, tools, machines, and this list could go on and on. This was so regular that I remember the first time I asked a question and my dad did not have an answer for it. We were standing in the kitchen in front of the sink. I do not remember the question I asked but he responded confidently by saying ‘I don’t know!’ And I was surprised and said, “what do you mean you don’t know?! You always know! Why don’t you have the answer this time?!” He once again confidently responded, “because, I don’t know!” It takes a lot of time and a lot of questions to make it to a question that dad doesn’t have the answer to. I have learned a lot from my father. This dinky commercial reminded me of that. I owe much of who I am today to him.
As I sat in my office crying, it was not over the great relationship I have with my father, but about the relationship I want to have with my child. I want to be a father. I want to teach my son or daughter how to cook an egg and how to ask someone out. I want to teach them how to fix a lawn mower and tell them about the galaxy. I want to show them how to ride a bike and how to change a flat tire. I want to show them how electricity works and why it is important to work hard and never give up. I want to be a father
To this day my dad is the person I call whenever I am trying to fix something or figure something complicated out. I trust his advice and I trust his judgment because I have seen firsthand what he is capable of. I want to be that for somebody. Not just somebody, but for my son or daughter. I think of my parents and all of the love they gave me, and then I realize, there are children right now who do not have that. There are children right now who’s only option is to ask google how to shave. There are children right now trying to get through life on their own. I do not know what child is out there for me and Ryann, but I know that God has put this desire in my heart. My desire is that one day you will ask me a question after answering so many questions and I will have to confidently respond, ‘I don’t know.’