THE INCREASE: Image of the Father – Matt Holliday

Tampa, FL - March 28, 2017 - George M. Steinbrenner Field: Portrait of Matt Holliday (17) of the New York Yankees (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

Raising kids is challenging, it’s awesome, it’s fun, it’s the whole gamut.

My favorite thing about being a father is doing everyday life with my four kids. It’s the day in day out process of watching them grow and turn into the men and women that God has created them to be that really blesses me. I love watching them experience all the things that come their way and being there to help them along the journey.

One of the things I most respected about my dad was how ambitious and hard-working he was. His example has greatly affected my life and has helped me become the man I am today. I know that my kids see that part of him in me as well and recognizing that, they too want to emulate it. I loved the way that my dad always supported and coached my brother and me in such a loving, non-demanding way. The way my father loved me shapes how I want to love and care for my own children.

Being away on the road can be hard, but I place high importance on spending time with my kids over video calls when I can’t be there in person. They tend to be more willing to interact and converse with me when they can see my face so I make sure to make that a priority. Leslee and I also try not to allow long stretches to go by where I don’t see the kids, so they often will travel with me if they can. And when our team is playing at home, my family comes to the park every night and I take the boys out on the field with me.

God designed us to crave and look for the attention and love of a father. He exemplified this with His Son, Jesus. Kids need the presence of a father in their lives—someone to know, love, and support them no matter what. It’s innate in a child to want someone to be proud of them, to help shape their future, and teach them right from wrong. A father is also called to discipline his kids out of his love for them, encouraging them to be men and women that God created them to be. Being a father is a big responsibility—one that I do not take lightly—but it’s also an incredible blessing.

When I first became a father thirteen years ago, I gained a better understanding of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. I realized how much I loved my own kids, not based on what they did or the circumstances that they were in, but unconditionally. In the same way, I realized God loves me without circumstance. Whenever we screw up, God’s love remains the same. If we become extremely successful, God’s love remains the same. In the same way that I want to correct my children so that they can be the very best versions of themselves that they can be, God disciplines us, not out of anger or spite, but because He loves us and wants the best for us.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” —1 John 3:1

As a father, I hope to emulate the character of the strong, Godly men we read of in the Bible, and ultimately to show myself as an example of the Father’s love to my four children. If I can be a reflection of my Heavenly Father to the children He’s blessed me with, I would hope that they too would want to pursue and know Him more—the source of the love that they receive every day.

“As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love.” —John 15:9

Matt Holliday

Matt Holliday is Designated Hitter with the New York Yankees and a regular contributor for The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

Check out Matt’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/mattholliday/

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