Monday, 17 March 2008

I have failed as a father

The words to the title of this post should never have to uttered by a father, but sadly, on occasion I have failed.

It was May 1972, a warm spring day, mama and I were working at Teen Ranch inc. in the "'thumb" area of Michigan. We were Resident Cottage Parents for 10 teenage boys plus we had two small children of our own. Jo, my daughter in the picture was just learning to walk. That warm May day I was suppose to be watching my little girl, I got lax. I left her outside and went in to take care of an "errand" and left her unattended - I never even heard the scream.

The day was beautiful, so warm! The ranch decided that this would be a wonderful day to put fresh hot, very hot, tar sealer on the driveway.

Suddenly a man came bursting into the front door with my little girl in his arms! She was crying, screaming in great pain! She had walked out into the hot tar barefooted, screamed, and then fell into the hot tar getting large portions of hot tar sticking to her feet and her legs. The man immediately ran cold water on the hot tar cooling it down and instructing us not to try and peel the tar off her legs as it would pull the skin right off.

We quickly loaded her in the car and rushed her to the emergency room where they slowly removed the tar with what I believe was liquid ether. Mama had called our pastor and quickly the church family was in prayer. That night our daughter had major blisters on her feet and on her legs - but God took away her pain! She slept just fine that night, the next day was walking, trying not to bump her blisters. Me, I had a major question for God! God, you took away the pain, why not those ugly blisters??!! He waited - then said; "I gave you that daughter, I took her pain away, but the blisters are for you. A reminder you are to watch over her!" I asked his forgiveness and learned a hard lesson on fathering.

God never fails us! He has promised us eternal hope and He will get us there. We can sometimes fail or make mistakes as an earthly father, but our Heavenly Father never does. My little girl? Never had a scar - but I had to look at those blisters a long time!

33 comments:

Brandy said...

Papa! That story is so sad but a good lesson. I am sure you were/are a wonderful father! It reminds me of a story that turned out much worse. This last summer a girl I know who had two daughters, a 2yr old and a 6mo old, was swimming at her parents pool when they were gone. She went inside to nurse the 6mo old and fell asleep. When she woke up she noticed the 2yr old was gone and found her in the pool. It was too late. :( My heart just RACED reading your story hoping it didn't turn out the same way.
I am so glad that her legs didn't scar! What a miracle!
Your daughter looks JUST LIKE Mama!! You must be so proud! :D

Indian Lake Papa said...

Brandy - I think I was hard on myself. We all make mistakes as parents, fortunately overall my kids survived my lapses of good judgment. Swimming accidents are so final and tragic - how do you forgive yourself when that happens? Only by the grace of God.

CDCVersion said...

What a story. You know how to go for the heart! And I love the spiritual application you put to every day life. Yes, sometimes we do have scars to remember what God has forgiven us for, but His love is so great, the scars are in themselves beauty marks.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Good morning CDC! I have some very vicious scars on my own heart I wish were not there but they are and God allowed them as a reminder of His grace. Have you spoke at the Ladies retreat yet? Where is it?

Tam said...

Oh WOW!!! Tearing up pretty badly over here!

"The blisters are for you"

That's heavy Papa! What a lesson. What a good God too!

I've done some pretty stupid things as a mom. There are many, many nights I pray that the Lord will erase my kiddos memories of that particular day. BUT...I think it is sooo good for them to see that we're not perfect and we make mistakes. That's how we all learn. It teaches them how to extend grace and forgiveness...while teaching us humility.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Tam - one of the greatest gifts He has given us is that of being a parent! What an awesome responsibility! My children love me in spite of my mistakes and failures. Do not take Gods gift lightly!

Darla said...

Papa! I love you! We all have horror stories of our humanness and failures, I try to remind myself that HE does not ever fail us! My daughter was 4 and I was working on my car when my neighbors dog bit her and cause intense surgery that she needed to be awake for, I will never forget what pain she was in due to my ignorance, she has forgot the pain, but I never turned my back on my children again when so small. Lesson well learned!

Indian Lake Papa said...

Darla - We are so vulnerable as humans. We do have our failures - but God forgives and will not turn His back on us. In fact when we start to get judgmental with others we need to remember we screw up too! Love you too! Maybe we can meet on iChat sometime! Tam has my id and my email address.

Indian Lake Papa said...

This is Indian Lake Mama: The doctor told that she would have scares from the burns but we are so thankful that she dose not. She even wrote a paper in school about how God healed her. She doesn't remember it happening but she has heard us tell about the miracle so she related it on in her paper. It has been a witnessing tool for her and for us. :)

Robin said...

Wow, what a story! I almost felt her pain and yours. I too have made mistakes. Tam, what you said about wishing God would erase things from their memory - I understand that too.

I got burned as a five year old from boiling water on my foot (painful blisters then, but no scars now) . Very long story, but the short version is I stepped into a pan of boiling water that I put on the floor. I had forgotten I put it there just moments before. Don't ask why a five year old was boiling water... Needless to say I don't allow my children to boil water or be near me when I'm taking care of boiling water.

But one day Superloveman (my son - you will get that if you read my blog on looking for love on my actions speak loudest blog) came barreling into the kitchen as I was making cookies and I told him to back up because #1 he was shirtless and #2 I was getting ready to open the oven. He left and right as I was pulling the cookie sheet out he came running back in and his bare arm met the cookie sheet. I felt horrible. It blistered, but its all better now. This happened not too long ago. Life is in full speed around here. Being a mom is quite a job and I don't take it lightly, but I do fail and make mistakes and pray that my kids will become all God dreams for them.

Papa thanks for sharing this post. It helps to know even you can make a mistake :)

Darla said...

What has meant for bad God makes Good! isn't that so awesome! I love you both...Mama and Papa...you greatly encourage me!

I never want to get to big for my britches..I know my God will have no problem pantsing me! hahaha been there and done that...no thanks..I will take the high road, and remember my place..coming in across the finish line totally ripped up but coming in! :)

Indian Lake Papa said...

Robin - yep, i make mistakes - more than I like to admit! I even have a nickname some call me by because of one "humorous" boo boo!:o) Nope - I ain't telling! I have been in"hot water" as well!

Darla - I am afraid I really get into trouble sometimes - I like to lead (remember? "Benevolent Leader") and I sometimes prefer that Jesus just follow me. Then I get into serious trouble, I wonder why?

Darla said...

mmmmmmm....let me think....LOL!

Ed said...

Papa it's our mistakes that keep us humble.

That's a good thing in the long run, but it is made so much worse when it's someone we love who has to pay the price.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Your so right Ed. If I had got hurt no big deal - buy when my mistake hurt my daughter, that was crushing. Obviously I still think about it.

I may have this God / Christianity thing all wrong, I don't think so. But my children have taken my lead as well. If I am wrong, no problem. If this God thing is right and I told my children otherwise, what a mistake/failure that would be for my children for eternity. That would be my biggest failure.

Ed said...

Papa, religion is something you feel with your heart.

You either feel God's presence, and guidance, or you don't.

If God is making his guidance know to you and you did not pass this on to your children that would be a failing.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Ed - I often think of feeling Jesus in my heart. It has been so wonderful through the years to have His presence in my heart. Both of my children have sensed this as well in their dad.

Your right, If I failed to pass what I believed was so important to my children, that would be a major screw up! Our personal moral codes are so important. Thanks friend.

wornoutwoman said...

Awww. You poor guy bearing that burden. You didn't fail as a father, you just learned a HUGE lesson. You also cared very deeply about the outcome. If you could have cared less....than you would have failed as a father.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Wornoutwoman - It was a very hard lesson - I did learn from it, that's for sure! She is still daddy's girl!

Robin said...

Hint, Hint... time for a new post :)

Hope you are having a great day!

Tanya said...

I believe that you are right when you said that the blisters were for you. I know our Lord ask us to be obediant and we are not, he shows us in loving way how our disobediance can cause harm. I am so thankful that there was no scares on her. God is so good and he protected her the best He knew how, with love and kindness. And you learned from this. I bet you never left her alone again. God knows your heart and He loves you so much. God bless you and thank you so much for showing your heart. Tanya

CrossView said...

You know it's funny but this post reminded me of a time when I was a *very* young girl. I was on a walk with my Dad and he held my hand and accidentally cut my finger with his nail.

I don't remember it hurting but I do remember the look of pain on his face and the heartfelt apology. I still have the scar on my finger and it only brings back good memories of a dad who loved me.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Crossview - I talked w/daughter tonight on iChat. She reassured me I was a good daddy! :o)

Tanya - yes the blisters were for me. Ii was very careful to watch my daughter after that!

Robin - alright! A New post will be forth coming! :o) Maybe! A busy day tomorrow! And Saturday I am goofing off all day with the guys!

Anonymous said...

I will try this again and hope it works. Hi Dad! Just wanted to tell you that your a great dad and have always been there for me whenever I have needed you. The story is a good reminder for me that even though God lets us stumble into things that cause us pain, He is right there to help us when we cry out. Wish He could have let those hair follicles at least been damaged so I would not have to shave my legs anymore! Hah! Just kidding. I am thankful that He healed me completely and that I have NO memory of it. Love you!!

JO

Indian Lake Papa said...

You got it figured out daughter. I sure love you - and sorry I failed that day and got you hurt. I love you Jo! x x x x o o o o

Dad

Tam said...

Oh my goodness....you two are killin' me! Jo, could you be any sweeter or better of a daughter???

We have all fallin in love with your dad...AND Mama. Jo, you are so very blessed. And I know you must know that!

Thanks for sharing your Pops with us ;-)

Indian Lake Papa said...

Tam - I am a very blessed dad and have two wonderful children, a terrific son-in-law and even better two grand children now! :o)

Anonymous said...

Tam,

Not sure if Mama and Papa would have called me "sweet" during my teen years! ;) Yes, I am very blessed to have two wonderful parents and I agree Dad, about your grandkids! Hah!

Jo

Tam said...

Jo, by the way, Jo is my middle name - named after my Grandmother, I'm sure you just had to give your dad a run for his money when you were a teenager! I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in your home at any given moment =)

Robin said...

Jo,

How neat that you have joined the conversation :) You have amazing parents, but I'm sure you know that already. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Happy Easter!

Indian Lake Papa said...

I have always teased that I was going to write a book on how to raise kids, but Jo in her teen years ruined my last two chapters! She wasn't really that bad but she liked to test the limits! :o) Seriously - she is one of the greatest moms I know! Her and Her husband are the best! A great family!

Anonymous said...

I have just read this, and although a different circumstance, I also can't help feeling that I have failed as a father. I did not grow up with any father figure and swore that when it was my time to raise children, I would do everything that my father didn't. I have set such high expectations for myself as a father, that I can't not meet them, they are impossible. My three year old daughter has everything she needs and without being spoilt, doesn't go without too much. I can't help however feeling that no matter how tired I am (I work nights) I should get up with her first thing in the morning and do things with her that I never got the opportunity to do. I feel that I have set the bar so high for myself as a father, I will never be able to reach it. Everyone, including my daughter and wife, tell me I am a great father but too me I fall short, way short.

Indian Lake Papa said...

Anonymous - thanks for stopping by - yes, being a father can be a tough responsibility - but lean on your heavenly father to help you. He never fails!