The Gift of Fatherhood
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By U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
Mark Twain once wrote, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
Certainly, when you’re young, you tend to think you know best. Your parents’ advice can appear out-of-touch and tone-deaf. You have to remind them, you’re 14, and you’ve lived. You know a thing or two about a thing or two. You can figure things out on your own.
I know, because I’ve been the father to two teenage girls, and I also know because I was once a 14-year-old kid who thought he had it all figured out.
Today, I would give anything to have my father here and to be able to bend his ear when I’m facing a challenge. But I’m grateful I had him in my life for many years and I’m thankful for the example he set and the lessons he taught me. A B-17 pilot in World War II, serving in the Army-Air Corps, my father was shot down on his twenty-sixth mission over Germany. He was captured and spent the last four months of the war in a German prisoner of war camp until he and his fellow POW’s were freed by General Patton’s troops.
My father instilled in me a deep respect for our men and women in uniform and for the sacrifices that are made to ensure America is the safest, freest nation in the world. He taught me the value of hard work and service to others. He taught me that the most important hero you can be is a hero to your children.
This Father’s Day, I’ll be thinking of the many fathers who have lost children serving in the War on Terror, as well as the children whose dads have made the ultimate sacrifice for our security and our well-being. Their loss can never be replaced, but it is my hope that as a community, we show them our gratitude every day and live our lives in a way that honors their loved ones’ sacrifice.
While there is no greater gift than fatherhood, in turn there is no greater investment we can make in the lives of our children than to be a loving and involved dad. One Texas father recently took an incredible risk to show his love for his son. Dennis Terry, of Clear Lake City, suffered from kidney stones and other health conditions that had kept him from donating his kidney to his 21-year-old son, Tyler, who had sustained lasting damage to his kidneys as a newborn and required a transplant at the age of 18. Doctors had told Dennis it would endanger his health to give his kidney to his son and refused to carry out the transplant. But after Tyler spent several years waiting on a donor list, Dennis sought a second opinion and found a team of doctors at Houston Methodist who were willing to perform the operation. Just last month, Dennis and Tyler underwent a successful transplant. Dennis said he was not only able to give his son a gift, but he also received one in return: “I look at it even differently because I think that I was given something. I was given the opportunity to take care of him. And so I think it was a gift for me."
May every father feel blessed by the gift of fatherhood this Father’s Day and may we each do our part to be a positive role model in the lives of young people.
Source: KHOU 11 News