This Father’s Day I have been thinking a great deal about my own father, Ralph Riggs, who went to be with his Lord back in 2000. It is hard to believe that 21 years have come and gone. I was always glad that Dad did not have to be around for 9/11. His heart would have been broken. A survivor of D-Day, he had seen enough.

I have his picture in my study and in my bedroom. I say good morning when I see it and I often long for one more time to talk with him. When I think about Dad, I begin to understand that FATHER is a verb as well as a noun. Let me explain.

A verb denotes action and, of course, there can be a great deal of activity for dads. That isn’t exactly the activity I was thinking of, however, Being a dad is a learning process. If you are a father, think about what it was like the very first time  you realized the implication that you were about to be a father and how this huge weight seemed to appear on your shoulders. It wasn’t an oppressive weight, but a weight nonetheless and it remains there as long as you have children, no matter how old they are.

You immediately realized how totally unprepared you were to be a father. And then the day came when you laid your eyes for the very first time on your son or daughter. You looked on their face and, if walking on Cloud 9 is a real possibility, that is what you were doing.

Over the years, maybe more children have come and so do the days when you watch them begin to crawl and soon to walk. The first time your toddler reaches up and takes hold of your little finger and walks beside you, it is a feeling you never want to lose. Then, there are the hugs. When they are little and they haven’t seen you for a while, maybe all of 30 minutes, they come running to you and hold you in a hug that has got to be the same feeling we will have when Jesus hugs us.

There are the prayers for your child and they change drastically over the years. There are the nights when you cannot sleep and you stare out into the night sky wondering what you are supposed to do to make things right when you messed up big time. The nights that tear at you when you realize maybe you’re not the sheepdog you are supposed to be.

Hopefully, God has blessed you with a help-mate, a MOTHER for your children who seems to be the glue that holds it all together. If you have been given a godly wife, you are, of all men, most blessed. I thank God for my wife every day.

After many years, if you’re lucky, your children are still telling you ‘I love you” when you talk with them and they still actually want your advice on something. You see them grow into young men and women and you realize how much of their success is due to God’s grace and not much, at all, to your wisdom as their father. You thank God every day that He has your children in His hands and at some point you realize they aren’t your children at all, really. They are God’s children and He has trusted you to raise them and teach them, prepare them for what He has for them in this life. It breaks your heart when you think that they are missing out on what God has for them and you are elated beyond compare when you see God blessing them. Father is a verb.

Perhaps I have figured out why being a grandfather is so great. You finally get to settle in a little bit and enjoy all the growth you have had being a dad. Father is a verb because it is an action – it is continual growth. You never stop growing as you go from father to grandfather. As grandfather, you have just enough wisdom given you that you can watch your son or sons-in-law grow as fathers and share their joy in the good times and help them with the weight of the hard times.

Rejoice in the sunshine of the smiles of your children. Thank God that He will continue to hold them in His hands when your time on this earth is over. Praise God that He has blessed you with one of the greatest blessings in life, being a DAD.

A Cop’s View of Father’s Day

Helping Make Sense of How Some Cops Respond to a Day Set Aside to Honor Their Role as Dad

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, DMin Director Security Consulting Investigations, LLC  www.security-consulting.us

It’s a regular shift only its scheduled for Father’s Day; a Sunday shift is bad enough to draw but on Father’s Day too, incredible! That is what went through my mind at least a dozen times during my watch. I was always anxious for Father’s Day; not only was it a time of relaxation; it was a time to be surrounded by my family. That was the most important part for me and it has only become more so now that my family is spread out with their families or careers that keep them away.

Father’s Day becomes sweeter still with grandchildren. But for some officers, Father’s Day brings only painful reminders of the road not taken or mistakes from the past that cost them dearly. Couple that with some of the tough calls that Father’s Day brings!

Is there any call worse (child death calls excluded) to get than a domestic fight? Now, respond to a domestic fight and there are children at the scene watching mom and dad battle it out like two WWF loud-mouths, and it is Father’s Day. Not the most pleasant way to spend the day, especially if you have to take dad away in handcuffs in front of the kids.

‘OK, we all understand this so why bring it up here?’Doc, are you trying to discourage us?’ ‘What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism anyway?’ I can hear your questions because I posed them to myself before I wrote this and here are the answers.

First, this is a reality and you have to deal with it. You need to understand that you and your partner or your back-up officer may be dealing with this day differently. If you are a female officer, the same is true for Mothers’ Day or for any officer who is dealing with issues and memories about their own father this day is an issue. The point is that any shift can have enough stress of its own but when a shift automatically brings with it additional stressors, you have to be even sharper than normal; this includes Christmas or birthdays, or it could be special anniversary of the baby lost a long time ago. Be aware of days in your life or the lives of your partner that could be a distraction from the job.

No, I do not want to discourage you. I want to help you stay alive. From where I am, I cannot physically help you. But maybe, just maybe, through the words in this blog I can stir you to think so that you can be sharper mentally when you go out on that next shift and that split second sharpness may be what keeps you alive to go home at EOS.

What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism? I point to a sign in the main lobby of the National Fusion Center that reads: “Today is September 12, 2001” We are at war, ladies and gentlemen; and you are on the front lines. Your head must be in battle mode when you go on shift. Nothing can distract you; not even a holiday. Please, be careful out there!

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