This Sunday we’ll observe Father’s Day, another philanthropic event to bolster the greeting card industry and retail store sales. “What should we get Dad this year? Another tie?” “Dad doesn’t wear ties anymore, remember?” “Oh, yeah. How about a tool – does he need another hammer, or some screwdrivers? How about some more fishing lures?”
Father’s Day seems to lack the fanfare of Mother’s Day. In some respects, rightly so. After all, Mom carried Junior and little Susie around for nine months before Dad got into the act. In fact, I’ve explained the reason I was born in Giessen, Germany was simple: My mom had gone to be with my dad, stationed there in the Army. And I wanted to be close to her at the time.
It’s also true that the majority of single-parent homes are headed by women, all the more reason for moms to receive special honor and recognition. Working, often more than one job, and trying to raise kids alone at the same time, deserves tons of credit. Still, I think the father’s role is greatly underestimated and underappreciated.
Consider: TV ads for Mother’s Day run for weeks; commercials for Father’s Day appear mostly the week before, almost an afterthought. In TV shows, fathers are frequently portrayed as clueless buffoons. If not, they appear in the negative, as overbearing, abusive, or indifferent. If there’s a national Society for the Affirmation of Dads (SAD), I’d suggest they find a better PR firm.
|Happy Father's Day!|
Perhaps, being a dad and grandfather myself, I’m biased. But maybe it’s time we started giving fathers a benefit of the doubt. The job’s not easy, even for the most dedicated.
Without question, some fathers fit the descriptions above. But most fathers are making an effort, albeit imperfectly, but trying as best they can. Women seem more instinctive when it comes to relationships with their kids, perhaps because of their nine-month head start on the dads. My own father, a good, hard-working and faithful man, wasn’t the most nurturing, outwardly expressive person. But he was always there, ready to lend a hand whenever needed.
Factions of society seem intent on diminishing the role and importance of fatherhood, as if dads aren’t needed at all. A friend who works with young people in middle and high schools tells me that in some schools, up to 75 percent of the kids come from single-parent homes – most headed by women.
It’s politically incorrect to say so these days, but that wasn’t God’s design. From the start, the Lord said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), and He wasn’t just referring to companionship and recreation. Because soon after, Adam and Eve began having children. They started by raising Cain, then had another as soon as they were Abel. (Sorry for the puns. No I’m not!) Anyway, God never said, “Okay, Adam, Eve’s pregnant. Your work here is done.”
One of my favorite Scripture verses is Ecclesiastes 4:9, which says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.” This principle certainly applies to the work world, team sports, and even in tackling a household project. But nowhere is it more relevant than in the realm of parenting. Most moms do a great job when they have to go it alone, but in collaboration with a caring, devoted dad, chances are really good they’ll produce some outstanding kids.
Ultimately, we have our Heavenly Father, the One who has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And think of the incredible love, mercy and grace of this Father who, as John 3:16 tells us, “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If this is the first time you’ve encountered this verse, you might think, “What kind of father is this?!” But it makes great sense when we realize that in Jesus Christ, God took on human form, not only to serve as our model and teacher, but also to become the necessary atoning sacrifice – theologians term it the “propitiation” – for the sins of mankind. It’s available to all who will believe in Him, placing their total trust and faith in Him and what He has done for us.