Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections on Fatherhood

As Father’s Day approaches, we read articles and hear commentaries about the role of fathers. A friend in TV news even asked the question recently, “Dads, do you feel like you get ripped off on Father's Day?” I’m not sure what prompted the question, but I suspect it’s because Father’s Day typically gets less “pub” than Mother’s Day.

I don’t feel “ripped off” at all. It’s not about the cards or gifts I might receive – although those are nice. If they were to hold a “best father” competition, I wouldn’t bother entering because I’ve blown it more times than I can remember. But as the Scriptures say, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Although I have messed up a lot, I hope my heart has been in the right place – at least most of the time.

To me, the greatest Father’s Day gifts I’ve received have been comments from my daughters to the effect, “Dad, thanks for always being there for me,” and the smiling “Pop!” that greets me whenever my grandchildren visit.

It’s sad when TV cameras pan the sidelines during college football games and young men yell, “Hi, Mom!” because rarely do they say, “Hi, Dad!” And that’s an indictment, I think, on many fathers who failed to keep their end of the deal. If more dads had done a better job, maybe their kids – and our society – would be in better shape.

I like this description of a good father: “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). If a man can succeed in achieving that, I think he’s doing a good job.

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