When I was a child, fathers were often understood as leaders, knowledgeable individuals, and vital. Many male friends of mine have mentioned that today fathers are portrayed as bumbling, incompetent, and single-minded obstacles. Recently, the New York Times published an ‘op-ed’ that fathers were “not necessary”. Perhaps the topic is merely a matter of opinion.
For me, my father was my ‘hero’. I told him this just before he passed away. He never did anything great to change the course of world history, and he never saved others in battle. He felt guilty that he was stationed in Japan with the Air Force when we fought in the Korean War. He was my hero for his labor of love to his family, how he taught us to respect the the power and beauty of our mother, and why I should not drive my sister crazy. He worked overtime, schooled me in quadratic equations, taught me how to overcome failure, mentored me how to pitch, advised me to avoid talking about myself, and how to express emotions in a male culture. Finally, he raised me to have gratitude for being an American and how to kneel and pray.
So with fathers in mind, I share these thoughts to other men, as I recently expressed them to my friends:
“May you enjoy the most simple and wonderful blessing of a man’s life: to be a father. This is an honor for all of us. It requires an unmitigated quest of being appreciated, sometimes not understood, and yet, a necessity to guide our children with an immense and unwavering soul of strength, gentleness, and dedication. It is from our fathers, grandfathers, other men, and God the Father that we are the helmsmen of our families. Blessings to you in this continued life of unending love.”
Thanks Dad, you remain necessary to me.