To many, Father’s Day is either a joyous occasion or a time to mourn, possibly even a time to ignore what the holiday represents. Many believe this holiday is solely connected to our natural fathers, and to only focus on this aspect would not do justice to all the great men in our lives. My father is no longer with me, and I cannot help but want to talk with him again. Such an impossible thing to want, but still that is the way I feel. I also believe that this feeling is justified because I have more questions for him. I am now a father myself, and from what my father taught me, my perspective on life is different. It would be easy to feel robbed of that influence in my life or feel like a victim because we all need our fathers, no matter how old we are. Thankfully, even if your father is gone, or even if you never knew him, you can still celebrate this important holiday.
The reason we can celebrate this holiday, no matter our personal situation, is in the hope that men will take responsibility for their role in society. The lack of virtue, discipline, honesty, willingness, determination, direction, and wisdom is at the root of all of our political and social problems. Men fill a natural role not only in the development of their genetic children but also in the lives of others. Unfortunately, men cannot avoid the impact that they have on others, so when men are negligent, they have a negative impact. Like any other responsibility, this role of personal and professional development is unavoidable and is naturally first to our genetic children but also to others in our lives. In reflecting on this fact, here are areas that I believe are important and will work on in the hope of influencing a new generation in my everyday life.
First, people hate hypocrites, so take ownership of your mistakes, and do not just tell others how to live but show them. This practice of honesty teaches those we father, mentor, or disciple that you are more concerned about honesty and consistency than about pride or appearance.
Second, exercise your natural right as a human being to teach your natural children and others in your life how to think properly. Do not leave education to the government, no matter how busy you might be. Be involved mentally, practically, and emotionally. This applies to everyone in your life that you influence no matter where they go to school; private, public, or in your own home.
Third, do not rob other people or your own children of consequences. Being “nice” is just a way of pretending that the outside world -- full of natural consequences connected to our actions -- does not exist. Not teaching or not speaking up about the natural consequences of immoral behavior is worse than believing gravity does not exist. One harms the soul, and the other harms the body. A safe bet would be to protect both.
Fourth, teach your children and others in your life about human nature, and prepare them not to be surprised by evil but to be surprised by grace. It is natural for mankind to be selfish; it is uncommon for mankind to treat others with unmerited favor. Directing others and yourself on this idea will reveal more miracles in this world than we could imagine.
Finally, teach others, and your own children, that they are not victims of anyone or anything. The rain falls on everyone, and hurricanes, earthquakes, and death does not choose according to race, or sexual identity, or religious creed. Victims need help and wait for that help, and help does not always come. The heroes that I was raised to respect could have justly called themselves victims but did not, and they inspired the oppressed to take action.
My intent was not to ruin this important holiday or celebration by pointing out what should be obvious but to tell other men that, as a whole, we are failing! It is time we took responsibility for our role in society and man up. There are many great fathers in this world, but none of us are perfect, and I hope this will be a great reminder for not only myself but for all of us.
The reality of my situation is that my father is gone, and I will not be able to ask any questions, or ask for a hug, or brag about my accomplishments. On the other hand, God has provided me with so many other spiritual fathers and mentors that I would be remiss to not only thank them on this holiday but to carry on their work in my life to others. They can never replace my father, and I do not want them to, but they can continue the development that my father started. Men play a crucial role in our society, and Father’s Day should be a reminder of just that.