Early in life, Christmas is about dreams of sugar plums and Santa Claus and hoping your favorite toy is under the tree. As you grow older, the excitement morphs into enjoyment and then the cycle spins in reverse when you have your own children and you try to make their wildest dreams come true. Father's Day has been that way for me, too.

Some holidays seem to follow a strange evolutionary path.


Early in life, Christmas is about dreams of sugar plums and Santa Claus and hoping your favorite toy is under the tree. As you grow older, the excitement morphs into enjoyment and then the cycle spins in reverse when you have your own children and you try to make their wildest dreams come true.


Father's Day has been that way for me, too. I remember drawing pictures for my dad when I was young and seeing them on the refrigerator for a month or so. Then, after I started making my own money, I tried to find just the right gift for him. Then after I moved out, it seemed the Father's Day experience changed to finding a funny card to send.


Funny cards are big in the Bush family. If there is a poem in a card from one of us, it's probably a limerick.


But now I am in the Father's Day cycle. My son draws pictures and his mom helps him buy me a Sonic card so I can think of him every time I buy a Diet Cokes and eat the ice.


I can't wait until I get my first Swiss Army knife or tie. My dad will enjoy that, too.


I know when I first became a father I couldn't wait to teach Blake so many things. I really thought I had a lot to offer a son.


Unfortunately for Blake, he has taught me a lot more than I have been able to teach him.


For instance, Blake plays tee ball - one of the most important activities in the universe, at least to a dad. We work on things almost every day. When he goes to his games, sometimes it's homeruns and defensive skills and other times it looks like his first time to see a bat and glove.


After one particularly unproductive game recently, he asked me how he did. I decided to test his perceptions instead.


"How do you think you did, son?" I asked.


"I think pretty good," he said.


I then went on to list things I thought he should have done better and probably ruined his entire night. I tried to justify it to my wife that I just wanted him to be as good as I know he is. I watch him do really well in the yard, but when there is a crowd watching, his brain sometimes slips a gear.


Later, I found myself apologizing to Blake for not being more supportive and promised I would do better.


I have to do that a lot.


One day, after making peace with my son after a less than tactful discussion, I told him I didn't remember my dad ever apologizing to me. I don't even remember him needing to.


Blake just patted me on the face and said, "Don't worry dad, I know you try."


The main thing I have learned as a father is how our relationship with God is really supposed to work.


I bet there are a lot of times when He wants to ask me how I think I did and would be just as disappointed to find out I thought I did pretty well when I really didn't.


Luckily, God doesn't react like I do.


No matter what Blake does or doesn't do, nothing changes my feelings for him. I don't lie in wait for him to mess up so I can punish him. I see the best in him even when his actions don't reveal it.


I think that is how God sees us. In his letter to the Romans, Paul was clear with believers there that God's relationship to us can best be understood as our Father.


In Romans 8:15 he says, "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"


Abba is like daddy - a term of endearment. God is a Father to be respected and obeyed. But he is also a daddy to be loved, trusted and relied on.


Through Jesus, we can all become sons of God through a type of adoption. I think that was the most motivating factor in our family's decision to adopt an orphan from Ethiopia.


It is a picture of what has already been done for us. Taking someone in who can give you nothing but love in return is a living picture of what Christianity is all about.


In the months that we have been pursuing our adoption I have seen the parallels in the plans we have to find the child and provide for him as our own and how God pursues and plans for us.


I have already planned his first doctor's and dentist visits. We have incredible plans for the kind of life we want to provide for this young boy and we haven't even been introduced to him yet.


That is a demonstration of God's love, as well. Before there was a world or a person on it who needed to be forgiven for sin, He had already worked out the plan by which all things would be made right.


My next Father's Day will be my first with two children. Something tells me this adventure will be filled with more new lessons and new levels of enjoyment.


I'm thankful for my father and all of the things he taught me by word and example.


I'm thankful for my son who teaches me something new every day.


I can't wait to meet our son who is waiting for his new home.


Father's Day has evolved a lot for me over the years and I have no idea where the path will lead.


But I'm glad there are still trails to blaze. It's been a great trip so far.


Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.