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FIRST-PERSON: The importance of my kids just seeing me

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
MIDLAND, Texas (BP) -- A friend of mine recently referred to his missionary dad as his "hero." As I creep into the back half of my 40s, being a hero to my kids holds more allure, and the legacy of my life seems to take on more value to me. I wondered what it would take to be a hero to my kids. What would they say about me at my funeral?

To be honest, great financial success has never motivated me, and I don't care to leave a legacy of material things. So in my mind I crafted a legacy. I decided that I want my kids to see me walking in obedience to God. I want them to see me serving the church, and serving other people. I want them to see me taking spiritual risks, and living the life of a true disciple of Christ. But as I was thinking of all the things I want my kids to see me doing, something very important literally flooded my thoughts and washed over my heart, soul and mind.

More than any of those things, I realized that I just want my kids to see me. I want them to see me at their sporting events. I want them to see me at their school programs. I want them to see me at breakfast and at supper. I want them to see me crouched behind a baseball glove or sitting at tea party, drinking imaginary tea and eating plastic doughnuts. I want them to see me at their desks, working through math problems. I want them to see me on the side of their bed, praying with them at night. I want them to see me with arms open wide to comfort them or to welcome them home. I want them to see me caring when they are scared or sad.

I want them to see me jumping across the trampoline from them, and running behind their bike as they learn to ride without training wheels. I want them to see me with my own Dixie cup full of popcorn, watching the DVD du jour. I want them to see me smiling when I walk in the door and I want them to see me groggy as they tap on my forehead to wake me up in the morning. I want them to see me cry and to see me laugh. I want them to see me loving their mommy, and laughing with their mommy, and kissing their mommy, and saying "I'm sorry" to their mommy. I want them to see me.


Yes, I want them to see me doing great things for God and living out the call on my life with honor. But at the end of the day, even those very good things probably don't matter if, in the process, they never saw me. I think I will quit worrying about my kids seeing me as a hero, and work harder to make sure that they simply see me as their dad.

Mike Goeke is an associate pastor of at Stonegate Fellowship Church in Midland, Texas. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( Press) and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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