Dad, Pop, Papa, Father. Whatever you choose to call them, fathers have made a significant impact on a great many people in a great many ways. They are protectors, providers, and patriarchs. They are one of the first teachers, coaches, and mentors in our lives. They have made a difference in so many ways. Here’s their tribute!

Dads and Granddads
My dad taught me how to ride a bike, bought me my first baseball glove, taught me how to play basketball, taught me how to defend myself, and urged me to go to college. My dad was not perfect by any means. He struggled with his own demons and struggled to keep his own family together. However, the skills he taught me are still with me today and I have passed them down to my children. My maternal grandfather, a World War II Veteran, married to his wife for nearly 50 years, was a great example to me. He taught me swimming skills, was a great encourager, and disciplined me without ever using corporal punishment. I never heard a negative word from him and truly believed I could become anything, if I put my mind to it.

Father Figures
Perhaps you are an adult adoptee who has not had the benefit of a loving father. My question is: are there other father figures that have made a difference in your life? I did. I had a pastor who was a great example of what a loving father and husband looked like. He was the first person I ever met who pursued adoption, and it was his example that set me on the path of becoming an adoptive father myself. Then there were two male teachers in elementary school that were father figures: one was a music teacher who taught me how to read music and how to play the saxophone. The other was my sixth-grade teacher who encouraged me to excel academically and who recommended I apply to a special Junior High School for gifted and talented students. Then there were coaches, both in high school and college, that pushed my body beyond limits that I thought were possible. Each one of these men was a father figure in my life who saw something in me that I did not. They saw my potential. They pushed me. They mentored me. They taught me to be a better person. I thank God for these father figures.

Foster Fathers
Lastly, foster/adoptive dads are incredible people! They should be honored for bringing other children into their home who do not look like them, do not sound like them, and do not share their own DNA. The things that an adoptive dad can pass on to their children can leave a long-lasting legacy. A good dad can be a good example to their adopted children on how to work hard, how to play hard, how to respect women, and how to love their family. A good foster/adoptive dad can teach a young man how to be strong without being abusive; how to be tough, yet gentle; how to be a leader without being domineering; and most of all, how to have self-control. These children may have never had that type of role model before. A single foster/adoptive dad can take into their home boys that society may have otherwise discarded. They are rare, but valuable. It’s been said that a good man is hard to find, well a good foster/adoptive dad is even more rare. We need more of these dads to pour their lives into the next generation.

I have had the benefit of having positive male role models in my life. As a foster/adoptive dad of 9 children myself, I hope to be a person that my kids can look up to for advice, comfort, and direction. I can only hope to live up to the example that has been set for me. Have you had a significant Dad, father figure, or foster/adoptive dad in your life? Can you imagine where you would be without them? Thank them for all they have done!