Fatherhood: It’s not all in vain

Raising children brings with it incredible joy, times of proud reflection and moments of unparalleled happiness, but there are also very real setbacks and challenges, so how do we know as fathers that we're doing a good job?

By Richard Bell | outtherefamily.org

Being a father….

Do you ever think that all the ploughing and sowing into your family gets little recognition? Does it sometimes cross your mind that your love, your work, money, time and your care for those you love is unappreciated?

What about the thoughts that having a family has maybe meant forgoing career advancements? Or perhaps the talents you have been gifted with have had to go on the back burner to await a time later in life. Have aspirations of ‘success’ (as this world sees it) played second fiddle to spending time with the children?

To every father there comes trials. Raising children brings with it incredible joy, times of proud reflection and moments of unparalleled happiness. It might also be true to say that it would be rare to find a family where there were not disappointments and heartache… how much we worry about the welfare of our beautiful children!

Some days do you ever think ‘What is all this for’?

When we were travelling through the channel country in Outback Queensland on our road trip north we came across a lone grave with a substantial marble headstone. There it was out in the bush, it’s presence incongruous in that lonely uninhabited place.

Its unexpected appearance there did not allow the traveller to pass without giving it a closer inspection. Surely this must be the grave of a great explorer, the last resting place of a wealthy cattle station owner, a marker for some long dead person significant in the pioneering history of Australia? Whatever it was, that lonely gravestone must surely make a profound statement of some kind.

I stopped the vehicle and walked over to the grave and read the inscription carved on the headstone, faded and worn over the years but still legible. Upon reading I discovered that while the gravestone appeared significant the inscription told me the person, in worldly terms at least, was not. And yet… the accolade carved there in marble provoked deep thoughts in me.

‘Noble life but written not

in any book of fame;

Among the list of noted ones

none ever saw his name:

For only his own household knew

the victories he had won;

And none but they could testify

how well his work was done’.

In the end, it doesn’t matter who else sees what you have done or who else cares what you have done, your family will! That's what matters, and that’s the thought that often keeps me going as I try to be the best father I can be.

This article originally appeared on outtherefamily.org and has be republished here with permission.

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Richard Bell

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Richard Bell is a father to nine children with not a lot of time to spare! An occasional writer, adventurer and creator of interesting experiences for his family and a lover of nature, wilderness in particular, he is always looking for the next challenge... He blogs at outtherefamily.org