Earlier today, I was reading the story of a former foster child that aged out of the foster care system. This account of Felecia’s experiences was both uplifting and heart-wrenching. While it was inspiring to read about someone who perseveres even in the toughest situations, it also tore at my heart to hear her recall the stories of neglect and pain.
Even though the story’s primary focus is on this courageous young lady’s advice to foster parents, DSS workers, and teenagers currently in the foster system, there was one quote that grabbed my attention more than any other. As she was describing her relationship with her stepfather, she detailed many of the things he had done wrong during her formative years. But rather than focus solely on the negative, she also took the time to tell about how he eventually tried his best to change his behavior and be a father figure when her biological mother left them. She told of how he did his best to spend time with her and her siblings, and even though he was far from the “perfect father”, the time he invested with her left a lasting impression. As she concluded that portion of her story, she said:
“From a girl’s perspective, there is just something about the bond that is formed with the first man that ever lovingly held your hand, laughed at your stupid jokes, or told you how pretty you looked with the worst of haircuts that can never be replaced or duplicated.”
If you’re a dad, I challenge you to read that statement—to REALLY hear what she’s saying—and not be moved powerfully. As I read her words, one thought jumped out at me:
Somebody is going to be that “first man”. Make sure it’s you.
Whether you’re a blessed to be a biological dad, a step-dad, a foster dad, or an adoptive dad, the fact is simple. Your role in your little girl’s life goes far beyond making sure she has a roof over her head, clothes on her back, and food on her plate. You get the chance to form a bond that will shape her for life.
There is only one “first”.
There is no excuse good enough for second place. I don’t care whether it’s your career, an addiction, a dedication to “your team”, apathy, fear, or even something as noble as church duties—if you don’t capture her heart first, that special bond goes to the guy that does.
There is no second chance to be first.
Win this one.
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