As Fathers Day appears on June’s calendar, it can stir many emotions and feelings inside of us. Some have the benefit of a deep and continuing relationship with their fathers, while others may have never met their father. But fatherhood is not limited to biology or earthly definitions – it is about so much more. It is about what God intended for family, lessons learned, experiences shared, spiritual relationship and legacy passed down.
We spoke with Len Urbas Jr., our Rocky Mountain regional president, about his experience with his father and as a father himself.
Len described his relationship with his father, Leonard Joseph Urbas Sr., as “fantastic and foundational.” As the youngest of the family, with three older sisters, Len had a special bond with his dad, sharing a love for many of the same things. “Growing up I idolized my dad,” Len said. “He is a big part of who I am today.”
Some of the lessons he learned from his dad, a military member and a college football player, included willingness to put in an honest day’s work, fierce competitiveness, and a never give up attitude. “My dad spent hours on the practice fields teaching me not only how to throw, catch and hit, but also the importance of leading by example, teamwork and developing strategies to win.”
“After a game my dad would ask me how I thought the game went and how I thought I played – he was most interested in what I had learned and if I had seen things as they were or simply as I wanted them to be. While winning and losing was important, what was more important was the effort I put out and the lessons I learned. These lessons have served me well in my faith, my education and career – finish what you start with 100% effort and no regrets.”
Len has worked hard to pass the same lessons down to his children. He is most proud that all four of his children know and love the Lord, as he says, “that’s job one”. As they walk in their faith and deepen values, the Urbas family is working to build lasting generations.
“My dad was not perfect, but he loved fiercely,” Len said. “His loyalty made him unique, as did his tendency to be his own man and to think for himself.” Even though his father died over 30 years ago, Len still admires and looks up to the man he was and aspired to be.
Receiving true love from our parents, but especially our fathers, teaches us about our relationship with our Father in Heaven, Len said. “Satan is attacking the traditional, nuclear family for just that reason,” he added. “If a wedge can be driven between a father and his child, it’s easier to sow seeds of doubt about the love and relationship between one’s Heavenly Father and oneself.”
As Len said, a relationship with a father figure creates meaning in many ways—both relational and spiritual—in a life. The meaning of fatherhood goes far beyond the biological component of being a dad. It is the impact that a man has on his children and on others younger than himself with whom he comes in contact. That impact is not limited to the realms of the large and grandiose – it can be as simple as a small word spoken in love. But added up over years of relationship, it sets the course for generations to come as one father teaches the next.
Whether biological dad or a spiritual father figure, the eternal impact of this role is significant. May this Fathers’ Day be a meaningful moment to celebrate those who have spoken into your life!