“When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back.” ~ Linda Poindexter
Last month, we celebrated some very important people in our lives, our mothers. Today, we turn to the “other half” as we celebrate our fathers.
Being a parent is an awesome task as well as a wonderful blessing. If done correctly, being a parent can take several years off of a person’s life because of all the worry and anxiety that goes into raising children and helping to provide for the family.
A father’s role is critical on many levels. The father not only has to guide his child, he also has to support and love unconditionally. Fathers who do their job well make it much easier for a child to have and hold on to the faith. Fathers who may have failed in one way or another often make it harder to hold on to the faith. Why? Quite frankly, because we call God, “Father”.
When a person has experienced abuse or neglect by his or her father, it becomes much harder to think about a God who loves us. So often, as we were growing up, our teachers would talk to us about God’s love. They would say things like, “Your heavenly Father loves you and cares for you just like your earthly father, only millions of times more.” For some, that is a frightening thought.
As we celebrate Father’s Day, then, I share the same thoughts as I did on Mother’s Day. We pray for all our fathers who “got it right”, who are incredibly supportive of their children, who love unconditionally, and who are wonderful role models for their children. We pray, as well, for our fathers who might be found lacking. For those who are absent or who are not particularly supportive and loving, we ask God to come into their lives and give them the grace that they need to change so that they may reflect God’s love to their families.
Being a father is not a “natural” thing, no matter what anyone might say. It is something that takes trial and error. It is something that takes incredible energy and dedication. It is something that takes a lot of trust and love. Not all people are cut out for that role and we need to understand them and love them even if they may not be able to do the same for us.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all fathers — biological, adoptive, foster, step-fathers and godfathers — that they may have the grace needed from God to perform the role that God has given to them. Forgive those fathers who may need forgiveness.