This past weekend my wife and I hosted my brothers and their families for a celebration of birthdays and America’s independence. The relationship I have with my brothers is a special one, and I welcomed the opportunity to have them in our home.

My goal with today’s post is not to discuss my relationship with my brothers. Instead, I want to discuss the roles we play as dads to our kids; kids that we were given to raise and love well; kids that are loving and wonderful yet difficult and messy.

No one ever said parenting was easy…if they did, they were absolutely wrong. Parenting may be the most difficult thing we are ever tasked with doing, but it is worth it. It is worth the late nights, the diapers, and the vomit. I don’t enjoy doing those things, but I would do them all over again in a heartbeat.

This past weekend I watched my brothers fill their roles as dad. I watched them love and discipline their kids. I watched as they helped their wife and fiancé care for their families. I watched and I was proud to call them my brothers.

We don’t take this job lightly. We understand the impact a dad has on his child. We appreciate the role.

Sadly, though, many do not. Many run from their role as dad. Many shirk their responsibility and leave moms alone to parent a child they helped create.

These kids are not commodities or bargaining chips, yet so many parents today see them as just that. This is shameful. We have been entrusted to raise up generations that will raise up generations. This is a lofty task, but one we should cherish and welcome.

Parenting is messy, but it is a beautiful mess. We will fail at times. We will falter in our role. We will say and do things we shouldn’t, but we must try. We must desire to be the role model needed for our children.

This doesn’t mean living vicariously through them or setting ridiculous expectations for them. We simply love, nurture, and raise them.

I, along with my brothers, have failed countless times as a dad. We have been selfish, hateful, and at times, ignorant. This, however, doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel. The contrary is actually true. We should take these moments to learn and better ourselves and our parenting capabilities.

Many desire to see their name in lights or leave a lasting legacy in a career. I would encourage you today to not let that be your only end goal. Chase your dreams and aspirations. Go and reach that goal you have set, but never let that desire override your role as a parent.

Our society, our culture, and our kids need us. They need parents to relish the role set before them. This role is not glamourous or even championed in today’s narrative, but it is one we must do well.

It is hard to believe, but one day we will miss the diapers, the late nights, and the vomit. We will miss the cuddling on the couch and the ice cream stops.

God has allotted us a limited time with our kids and I would simply tell you to embrace that beautiful mess that we call parenting.

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center