One of the (many) upsides to being released from active duty to attend to my thyroid issues is being home on Father's Day. Although this isn't my first year as a father, it is still a blessing to be at home with my family and enjoy this special holiday with them. It was also great to spend some quality time with my own father, who I took to a Tennessee Smokies game this past Thursday. The game of baseball has been, and will continue to be, an intimate part of our relationship and I'm thankful for every moment we get to spend together watching our nation's past time.
At church this morning, I was listening to a sermon that began like most sermons on Father's Day. The guest pastor spewed out some sobering statistics about how many fatherless homes there are in America and the thousands more that have "absentee fathers', men who live in the home but aren't really present in the lives of their children. Next came the part where we were lectured on how important fathers are, and how as Christians we have a duty to teach and train our children on the ways of the world and guide them towards living a Christ-like life.
I'll be honest, at first I was a little perturbed. I was hoping for a message much like the ones given to mothers on their day, where they are lauded for all they do every other day of the year. However, I was quickly brought back to the reality of why as fathers we get these messages every year. It's because of what many of us DON'T do every other day of the year.
This is the first Father's Day that my dad will spend without his father, who passed away on April 19th. Their relationship was tumultuous, at best; however, I'm inclined to believe that, in the waning years of his life, my grandfather felt deep remorse for his past indiscretions, although he never admitted it. Moreover, unlike many sons who have disavowed their absentee fathers, my dad made a concerted effort to show him love as best he could.
Father's Day reminds me that, 1) I am so blessed to have such a great father and 2) the greatest gift I can give my child(ren) is my time, attention and unconditional love. Withholding these gifts will do immeasurable damage to both them and me. As fathers, we need to be reminded of this duty from time to time. What better day than when we are honored as fathers?