breaking battlegrounds

Father’s Day – Thanks Dad for the Sacrifice

On the radio show this week, we had Professor Brad Wilcox, author of ‘Get Married,’ discuss the importance of engaged fathers.

One topic we discussed that stood out to me was fathers willingly doing what is best for the family, not their own self-interest.

He shared the following story about a father who chose family first over career advancement:

…I think tension between work, obviously, and family. And so men have to kind of navigate that tension with an eye towards, you know, their long-term financial welfare, but also their family’s immediate needs. And I spoke to, for instance, a guy who had served in the Army as an officer and his wife, and they mentioned there are a number of times when he kind of turned down opportunities to deploy somewhere else. And he can always do that, but sometimes he could. And a lot of his fellow officers were like, ‘what are you doing?’ Like, you know, like, because that was just not the norm in his, you know, in his peer group in the Army. And he was just very clear, like the most important thing for him was his family, and he wasn’t going to put them through needless moves unless they had to kind of go on to the next assignment. You know, so that’s just an example of where, you know, here you had a dad who was kind of really putting his family first over and above his Army career. So that has to happen.

In the same episode, Jenna Moore shared in the ‘Sunshine Moment’ the story of Colin Prater, a biology teacher and golf coach at Cheyenne Mountain Hawks in Colorado Springs who earned his way into the U.S. Open this weekend at Pinehurst.

What was remarkable is why he wasn’t on the pro circuit instead of teaching high school. As Jenna shared:

And he [Colin Prater] won the Colorado Amateur in 2016 and 2020. And he loved golf and he was really [good], he was working hard at it during college. But he says that, so I’m reading this, I’m quoting an article here, but he said that it was a grind, particularly for a young family. And he realizes destiny lay in a different direction.

So he said, I just kind of realized that it wasn’t about me anymore. He had a young family at that time. And so he said, there were other people in my life and my decisions affected others. So my wife and I, we came to the conclusion together that we wanted to stay in Colorado Springs and he really loves teaching and coaching. So he chose his life. That’s fantastic. Yeah, so, but even, despite, he now has a one and a half year old child and another baby on the way. And with that, he’s able to inspire his students every year, and work on being a teacher, which he loves, coach in the evenings. And then now he gets to go play in the US Open.

These two stories reminded me of my own father, who turned down a promotion at Minute Maid in the ’60s which would have required him to move his young family to a regional office in a large city. My dad is a hard worker, good with people. If he had accepted, he would probably have climbed the corporate ladder and, as with most white-collar jobs, been transferred to various cities throughout our childhood.

My father grew up with instability and decided that he wanted his children to have roots, a secure base, and a present father.

Therefore, he turned down the offer and started his own business, which he ran for fifty years. I remember him getting up many mornings at 4 a.m. so he could be home to coach my brother and me in baseball or be home for dinner.

As a result of his sacrifice, my mom and he were able to keep rambunctious sons on a positive path while providing a safe, secure, and loving home.

We were never rich. We were middle class. Climbing that corporate ladder would probably have provided my mother and him with a solid pension, more financial success, etc. That being said, my dad never regretted his career sacrifice. He knew what he needed, what he lacked in his childhood, and as a result, what his children needed.

His decision is and was not for everyone, but for our family, his joint decision with my mother was the correct one.


For America to succeed, sacrifice must become ingrained in all fathers. Frankly, it needs to become their middle name. Because when sacrifice is part of their core, children have a better chance of thriving. Communities become more stable.

There are many fathers who have pursued the  path my father declined, and are dedicated and beloved by their families. However, for our family, my prayerful dad, in consultation with my mother, made the right decision.

This is not to take anything away from mothers, but it’s Father’s Day weekend, so we are discussing fathers.

One thing America needs today is what Bindi Irwin wrote, “Dad is, and always will be, my living, breathing superhero.” We need SuperHero Dads.

As David O. McKay wrote:

“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no worldly success can compensate for failure in the home.”

To all the dads – like my dad – who are ‘superheroes,’ who sacrifice and bust their butts to make life safe and secure for their families, thank you!

Happy Father’s Day.

PS — The following clip from Modern Family is humorous and sadly, too accurate for many dads.

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