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Father's Day Is All About Showing Up

Screenshot, Carolina @Panthers video/Twitter

In honor of Father’s Day this year, the Twitters account for the Carolina Panthers professional football team decided to share a brief, but beautiful video, which shows several players spending time with their kids. But more importantly, the players themselves provided voice-overs, explaining exactly what fatherhood means to them — basically, talking on what the best part of being a father is.

The whole video is worth watching. It contains some touching moments, including shots of one player’s baby girl playing in a kiddie pool, as he tells viewers the best dad thing for him is “just seeing [his] daughter smile. I mean, it doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, it doesn’t matter how the day has gone. It doesn’t matter what happened during the day. Her smile heals everything for me.”

But it was one story in particular that stuck out to me. It was when the player wearing number 24 on his jersey appeared on the screen. That’s 9-year, Panthers veteran cornerback, and, more importantly, a 29-year-old father — A.J. Bouye.

He said: (emphasis mine)

“To be able to watch your kids grow up, teaching them everything — from character, integrity, just how to move.

They learn so much. They watch us, even when we don’t think they’re watching us.

So, just being a good role model for them. That’s really my favorite thing about being a dad.”

Most people would agree that the words A.J had to say about the role model aspect of parenting couldn’t be more crucial. It serves to highlight that being a dad is about much more than many men might think. It’s about unconditionally loving the children God has entrusted your family with. It’s about being a part of providing a safe and stable home for them. And it’s all about showing up — “just being around,” as one of the Panthers dads put it, “for the small achievements.” I’m guessing, with the image on the screen of an infant, he means the first time the baby rolls over, that first step, and everything that comes after.

My hope in sharing this video, readers, is that many dads — and young men who are dads-to-be — get a chance to hear what these men had to impart this Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to you and your family!