A Letter to Fathers
As Father's Day approaches, I felt it only necessary to write a little something concerning all fathers. Men step into a powerful role when they become a dad, just as women do when they become a mom. So often it seems that fathers do not garner the respect and honor they deserve for their role in this world and in the lives of their families. It also seems that so many are afraid to be fathers, afraid for their lives to "end" as they know it. Fatherhood, however, is the greatest of blessings.
For better or for worse, we tend to project our view of our own father onto God the Father. Naturally, I am aware that so many have wounds from their fathers, men and women alike. The Lord is merciful, kind, and wants to heal the wounds in your heart that a father might have left you. So, as we pray for the healing of families, we cannot forget that the world is still filled with men who work tirelessly to provide truth, beauty, and goodness to their children.
The Catholic Church proclaims a real beauty when she speaks of the role of fatherhood. As a man takes equal part in bringing new life into the world, he enters an irreplaceable role. Men: you no longer have the world to yourself. Everything you do from that day forward is for that child-- for them to know, love, and serve God.
"Thus, a Catholic parent directs her children toward the accomplishment of their God-given missions, educating them, shaping them interiorly, molding teir behavior, disciplining their desires, etc." 1.
You are priests of the domestic church -- leading your family in prayer, giving blessings, upholding the traditions and standards of worship and the mass. You lead your children to what is just, what is right. You lead them to love, to will the good of the other. Your work as a father never ends. Your task is a daunting one: lead your children to heaven. Amidst every trial and tribulation work throws at you, you still come home at the end of the day ready to play & pray. The world pokes fun at you sometimes. As mothers we often hear things like:
"So, does he really help with the kids?" "You'll be the one who is up all night, not him." "They always get off easy, being the 'fun' parent."
But I understand that's not the case. You work all day trying to provide for your family. Then, you come home and pretend not to be exhausted so you can love on your wife and children. I can only imagine how tired you might be. Sometimes you fall short. Some days you fail. But I see you get up and try again. I see the work you're putting in so that your children might be given what's best.
To that father:
Thank you for your failures, for picking yourself back up and trying again.
Thank you for the times you apologized for your impatience.
Thank you for being present with us when you had a busy day.
Thank you for putting your own desires, needs, and wants at the foot of the cross so that you can serve your family and lead them into His Kingdom.
It's true, you might not get up to feed or rock the baby throughout the night, but the world doesn't see you getting up at 4am to provide for your family. The world doesn't see you coming home at the end of the day to a wife who is drowning in dishes and laundry. Then, you rush in to wrangle the kids, give them their bath time and put them to bed. The world doesn't always understand your struggle to become the perfect father, but I'm lucky enough to have a glimpse of understanding.
Dads really are superheroes. This Father's Day, I hope you can join me in praying for the fathers of this world.
So, without further ado...
Happy Father's Day
to the man who fathers his children
and the one who fathers another's child
the single father
the father that works multiple jobs
the men who lead congregations, our "spiritual" Fathers (aka priests)
the father with children in heaven
the men who desire to have children but cannot
the estranged father
our step-fathers and fathers-in-law
the adoptive fathers
and to all men who pray for the children of this world:
thank you. we need you. we love you.
Let us continue to pray for the fathers in our lives and those who aspire to be one.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
St. Louis Martin, pray for us!
Need a *FREE* Father's Day Idea?
Here's a few...
Simple Picnic: take the family outside if the weather allows. Pack some of his favorite snacks and just enjoy your time outside!
Breakfast in Bed: get up early with (or without) the kids and make a yummy breakfast. Who doesn't love waking up to the smell of bacon and coffee???
Homemade Anything: most men are simple. What's his love language? Sweet & simple cards work well for someone who loves words of affirmation. Maybe a video compilation of his kids/family saying happy fathers day!
Facetime/Phone Call: maybe you're not around your father this year. Make a call. 15 minutes is all it takes to put a smile on his face and to make him feel loved & seen!
The Simplest One: do whatever he wants
My husband works a LOT lately and we did not budget for this day seeing that we're out of town for a wedding the same weekend. So, we will be doing his favorite things without complaint (that's the key here, people):
Letting him study...right now he's learning Hebrew for fun. I know. I forget how opposite we can be
A day of reading... without me begging him to "do something fun with me!"
Dinner... without the stipulation "if I cook, you clean!"
It's his day off. So, let him decompress and enjoy it!
What does the perfect day look like for the father in your life?
1. Bishop Robert Barron, Priests Prophets Kings, (Word on Fire, 2014)