I wish I had been a better father. I wonder if anybody else has felt this way.
It seems like yesterday that my two beautiful sons, Jared and Zachary, were only small children. What happened to those days when we played in the yard, swam or just spent time together?
The days of telling silly nighttime stories, tucking them into bed and just hanging out flew by faster than a breath of air on a frosty day. If I could reach back and pull a few of those days back to the present, I would stop the clock and savor every moment of those beautiful childhood years.
I've heard that fathers on their deathbeds do not wish they had spent more time at the office. Most fathers do regret not spending more time with their families.
We get preoccupied as dads. I've heard great spiritual leaders like Billy Graham and Charles Stanley talk about being totally preoccupied and consumed with their speaking, writing and vocational interests to the point that they knew they had neglected their families.
It's not easy being a dad. We know we have to bring payroll into the house, keep a roof over the family and try to keep the family fed. In and around those daily duties there are the desires to give to your children. We want them to do well in school and enjoy music and sports. Dads want to provide vacations, an occasional fun weekend and comforts to the family. Often the stresses of work, personal goals and life's problems make a dad's life a juggling act.
Most dads feel the pride of fatherhood. I was right "there" when both of my sons were born. I leaped for joy on both of those occasions. I have leaped many times since.
My two sons are now in the military. My oldest has served almost 11 years, and my youngest is starting his fourth year. I am very proud of them both.
While I can't go back and try to be all that I wish I had been for my kids, I can keep trying today. I never miss a chance to hug and kiss them and tell them how much I love them. More than ever I want to spend quality time with them, but now the time is relegated to a few days a year.
In the remaining years of my fatherhood I want them to know I am on their side. I am their father regardless of what comes their way. I am here to help if I possibly can but will always encourage their independence and personal goal setting. I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I know time is passing.
My dad passed on several years ago. He lived to be 85. However, life was quick, and the time we had together seems like a vapor, here for a moment and then gone.
Dads, today, before the vapor of life is gone, do the most important thing that you can do for your children - spend time with them.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com, or visit his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette.