Bob Borger is father to four, grandfather to five and great-grandfather to four.
In addition to his considerable personal experience as a father, he’s spent nearly four decades as an ordained Presbyterian pastor helping to guide other parents in places as far away as Philadelphia and Annapolis, Md., to as close as Fort Oglethorpe and LaFayette. He currently serves as assistant pastor at Highlands PCA in LaFayette and offers private pastoral counseling.
Borger and his wife, Jan, have two sons and two daughters, including one daughter they adopted as an adult. Their grandchildren range in age from one to twenty-five.
Reflecting on fatherhood, Borger says, “For me, the most important thing to remember is that I should teach through the imitation of Christ. The apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 11:1, ‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.’ Ephesians 3:14 says, ‘I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.’”
“It humbles me to know that we are all stewards of God’s fatherhood,” says Borger.
Borger says that both he and his wife were blessed with very good fathers. “My father-in-law was a godly man and I learned a lot from him. My father was not as outspoken about his faith, but he was a wise man. I didn’t appreciate his wisdom in my younger years, but now I see he was smarter than I am.”
What does Borger feel he’s done right as a father? “One thing I do is I pray for my children. Every day for 35 years, my wife and I have prayed for each of our children by name. Our children have always known this and depended on it. It reassures them to know it.”
Helping his children understand that he is imperfect but redeemable was also important to Borger as he reared his children. “Demonstrating repentance when I was wrong and helping my children see God’s forgiveness was a part of helping them accept their own fallibility and God’s desire to forgive and help us improve.”
Borger says some of his favorite years with his children were the three to five age range. “I loved playing with them and roughhousing. It was just a lot of fun.” But, he says, every age has its own joys.
What would he do differently? Borger says he would spend more time with his children. “I would repent of my anger more quickly, too. And I would listen to my children longer before offering advice so I was sure to understand their questions.”
Grandchildren are a second chance at parenthood in some ways, and Borger takes that opportunity seriously. He’s spending this summer mentoring two of his grandsons who have just entered adulthood, and his wife spends special time mentoring and tutoring their great grandchildren.
“One thing I believe about parenting,” says Borger, “is that it never ends. Even after your children are grown, you help and teach by modeling Christ. You keep on praying. You’re not as involved in your children’s lives, but you’re still someone they look to as an example, and that’s a serious responsibility.”