Sometimes writing something that relates to a specific date or special day can make the words less universal but today I will take that risk and talk about Fathers’ Day – never quite sure where that apostrophe is supposed to go.
I once was told that you can never know for sure what kind of father you have been until you see your children with their own kids. Even though I have often wondered what that saying might fully mean, I think it is true even if it may mean differences between the ways we have parented. In my own case I feel that my children may fortunately be the complete opposite to me. I spent too much time working and not enough time with them. My vocation also meant that our weekends were not a work-free time and when they were off school for the weekend, I was gearing up to work harder. Whether this is true of other clergy families, I don’t know (hope not) but I do know that Sundays are no longer for church and church alone. There is more and more or maybe less and less “family time” spent attending worship. Families have so many other options and the weekend is a time for families to be together. Maybe it is a good time to re-think Sunday.
I am not complaining about my choices – they were (are) what has been. I could blame “God” for having called me to ministry, but it was my choice how I spent time required to do the work. So that is all the more reason I am very proud my children make the choices they do. Life does not function on the “Groundhog Day” rule in reality. There are no “do-over’s” hoping that next time we get it right (at least not in this lifetime – but that discussion is for another musings).
So now when I see pictures of sons with their fathers, I have a twinge of guilt, a great deal of admiration and a strong hope that my sons will be the very best fathers they can be for their children. I thought that I would share some suggestions about being a good father:
Teach your children to be caring and loving, not just to their own family but everyone.
Don’t be afraid to talk with them about life in all it aspects – the joys and sorrows.
Play together what your children choose to play – if that means becoming a princess drinking tea – go for it.
Let them make mistakes, just as you made mistakes and then talk about them with your children.
Let them get dirty and jump in puddles if that is what they want to do.
Laugh and cry with them over skinned knees and bruised hearts.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all dads and those who have been like dads.