First things first! A happy Father’s Day to any dads reading this article.
What comes to mind when you hear the words Father’s Day? Probably a day of complete peace, deep relaxation, solitude, gratitude, and receiving everything you desire. Most dads reading this would only have two words for me: “Yeah right!”
Well, OK, so most dads still have their responsibilities, children to take care of, and other duties. I think it’s tragic that many towns have had the audacity to put Little League baseball games and other sporting events on Father’s Day, thus treating it like just another day and nothing truly important.
But, fatherhood is important, very important! It is a cornerstone of our society; it can change the world, and it’s magnitude needs to be restored.
I believe Father’s Day (especially the days before and after) is a great time to reflect on what manhood and fatherhood are all about.
What kind of Father are you or do you desire to be? What kind of a husband and father will you be remembered as when you die? And, what practical steps are you taking to become the person you desire?
Here are some questions to ponder thoughtfully for both married and unmarried men. In meditating often on who we are as men, on what we desire to be like, and on practical steps of arriving there, we can more easily become the men that God made us to be.
Fathers: What kind of father have you been? Are you proud of the person you have been in your marriage? What good have you done? How have you formed your children? Have you raised them well in their faith as you promised God at their Baptism? Did you teach them virtue, character, integrity, and morality? Have you led by example in what you watch, listen to, read, how you speak, how you treat your wife, and how you love God, etc.?
We all have areas to grow and make changes in. So, what are those aspects of your fatherhood that you regret or wish could change? Do you work daily to improve them, to make yourself a better man, a better dad, a better Catholic?
This may mean reading books on the subject or seeking good spiritual advice or even counseling. Do you work to improve yourself, not just physically, but socially and spiritually, as well? Do you pray everyday and live for heaven? Do you apologize sincerely when you wrong your wife or family?
All men would do well to remember that our fatherhood is a sharing in the Fatherhood of God (Eph. 3:15).
The way that we live and love our children gives them an image of who God is, for good or bad. Do your kids see God as a tyrant, an emotionally detached Being, or a God who loves them more than anything in the universe? Through our words and actions, we are sending off an image of who God is. What is that image we are sending?
Men without children: Most men reading this article aren’t married yet, but probably will be someday. Do you reflect often on what kind of husband and father you want to be? Are you working now to better yourself so as to be that person?
Will you be a strong role model to your children? How? Are you working hard to overcome your faults and bad habits now: your temper, nitpicking, control issues, lust, sloth, intimacy or communication problems, etc?
Many of us haven’t been given a good model of fatherhood. Many of our dads have been absent, emotionally distant, or indifferent. But, we need to be different, a new generation of strong fathers who love their families and know what that looks like.
What necessary virtues and strengths are needed to be a fantastic dad? How can we cultivate them in our daily lives? Do we pray to God for help in that? The more we do the hard legwork now before marriage, the better our marriages will be.
Strength. Goodness. Devotion. Service. Sacrifice. Humility. Purity. Forgiveness. Fortitude. These are some of the necessary qualities that all fathers require.
Men not only need to cultivate these qualities, but they need to practically reflect on how to teach them to their children.
Christian men also need to be a good example of prayer and the spiritual life who often calls the family to pray, who gets caught praying himself, who brings the kids to church every Sunday, and who teaches his children the most important thing they could ever learn—their faith!