What is a good father?

As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

Psalms 103:13

Dear members and friends, 

It has been over 18 years since my first child Roiy was born. When he was first placed in my hands, I was hopeful that I would know what it meant to be a good father by the time he was grown. However, 18 years later I still find myself struggling with the same question: what does it mean to be a good father?  

I was filled with amazement and fear when I met Roiy for the first time. I was amazed at the beauty of the little being who was full of life and innocence. Just being in his presence was inspiring and fulfilling. Yet, as much as I was amazed, I was filled with a deep fear because I had no idea how to be a good father to him. I only lived with my father for the first two years of my life. After that, I met him a total of five times, and all very briefly. Thus, the father in my life had always been more of a figure from vague memories or stories told to me than a real person who was present in my life. Though I read several books regarding fatherhood in preparation of Roiy’s birth, the information from those books never felt real or useful when I needed it the most. With the blessing of God, I was reading the Bible daily at the time. As I was reflecting on my fear of not knowing how to be a good father, this verse stood out to me, “As a father has compassion for his children…” (Psalms 103:13) The most important thing about being a father, which I felt was the message from God, is nothing but having “compassion” toward the child.      

About six years after Roiy, Heejoung and I welcomed another beautiful little being, Joan, into the family. Thus, I became a father of two children. At this point, I was hoping to know a little more about being a good father. But the only thing that was real to me was practicing deep, true, and practical compassion toward my children. I am sure that I have made many mistakes in my efforts to be a good father, yet one thing is certain to me: I tried and am still trying to love them as much as I can. I pray and hope that what I do for them is helpful to their growth.  

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment to think of our fathers. We may have a good father or may never have had a father in life. My hope and prayer is that in their own way, all fathers love their children. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee

Artwork: Floyd and Lucille Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama. 1936. Walker Evans (American, 1903 – 1975).