Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Praise of Fathers

On this, the 100th Father's Day, I'm going to take a little bit of personal privilege and commend my own father for the quiet example of fatherhood he has been to me. I said to my mother several weeks ago that I was and am a very fortunate member of my generation. Unlike the parents of so many of my peers, my parents stayed together and were fortunate to be able to raise my siblings and me in an economically, emotionally, and spiritually stable and nurturing home. They also sacrificed many things for our sake, and continue to support my family and I in many ways as I strive to be a good husband and father to my wife and children. Thanks Dad (and Mom, too)!

I am also heartened by the video below from President Barack Obama in which he extols the virtues of responsible fatherhood.

I also recognize that, like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, Father's Day is a painful time for some. Those who, by death, absence, or deficiency, are or were denied the fathers they wanted. I recognize also that we are far beyond the normal nuclear family of a mother, father, and 2.3 children (or whatever...). I also know that the aspect of God that many call "Father" is problematic for some for whom fatherhood means abuse, neglect, or other traumatic issues. For some, God the Father becomes the father they never had and offers the opportunity for healing, for others "God the Father" puts up a wall between them and God that is nearly impossible to cross. For everyone, whether with good fathers or not-so-good fathers, present fathers or absent fathers, the concept of fatherhood remains in some shape or form.

As families and society increasingly fragment, and as our culture conspires to polarize and separate us, is the sacrifice and service of millions of responsible, dedicated fathers who (like me) fail repeatedly but keep trying to do the best they can for their children, that truly works against that which would otherwise seperate us. Happy Father's Day to all!