This Sunday is Father’s Day and it is a time when many around the country will take some time to honor their fathers for who they are and what they mean to them. My own father passed when I was only eight years old and I miss him dearly and often wonder what life might have been like had he lived. Although my mother remarried, I was an adult by that time and he has filled in some gaps as I have had to navigate adulthood, my own marriage and being a father to my own children.
In all the years of being a father, I’ve come to learn quite a bit. Much of what I’ve done as a father has come trial by fire, while some has come from what I’ve seen in my father, what I’ve seen in other fathers, and what I’ve read about fatherhood. None of this makes for being a perfect father, but it is a good basis for helping me to be the kind of father that I desire to be. No, I’m far from being the dad I’d love to be but I’m a much better father than I might have been, had I not had what I’ve been blessed with.
Just recently, my two younger children invited me to their school for “Donuts With Your Hero.” It was the school’s way of honoring fathers and the impact that they have on their children. As I was there enjoying donuts with my children, I looked around the room to see the many other fathers who were there with their children, noticing that many came from every walk of life and career industry imaginable.
Unfortunately, not all the children had fathers who could be there. Some had fathers who had to work. Some of these children had grandfathers, uncles, mothers, or someone else present in their place. It only highlighted for me that being a dad is never easy. Being a dad is a true sacrifice.
Some dads, like me may have physical challenges that makes engagement with children difficult in some respects. Other dads may have emotional or even experiential deficits that present challenges to engaging children. My prayer for fathers on this Father’s Day is that whatever thing that has been a limitation to your being the best father you can be, God will meet you at your weakness and give you the strength, wisdom, and capacity to become the father your heart longs to be.
This is a season in which father’s hearts need to be turned towards their children. As fathers turn their hearts towards their children, honor, respect for authority, and more will re-emerge. There will also be greater connectivity within the family, the community, and throughout the nation. If great fathers are the foundation of whole family, it is imperative that fathers find their own wholeness so that they can help bring wholeness throughout the family.
I pray that as you honor fathers on this Father’s Day, you look for ways to not just honor fathers but also encourage their hearts. Forgive them for their shortcomings, acknowledging that they may not have come into fatherhood with all of the necessities to be what they needed to be, yet are striving nevertheless. Find compassion for those that want to be better and give them the space to grow into it.
It’s true that being a father isn’t easy, but someone has to be one. Let’s help dads become the best dads they can be.
QUESTION: How will you honor fathers on this Father’s Day?