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Points to Ponder: For dads who don't like father's day

Points to Ponder
For dads who don't like father's day

My dad never liked Father's Day. He didn't want nor expect any gifts; but we gave him stuff anyway. He was polite and tolerant of the whole thing, simply saying, "It's just another day." I used to ignore his disregard of Father's Day, thinking that he was just being humble; or that he was just not thinking right somehow. After all, who wouldn't want to be honored and celebrated? At least, as a kid, I thought that would be a cool thing; but his disdain for the celebrity status of being a father was consistent. I never understood it.
Until I became a father. As our girls grew from infancy forward in the usual way, I began to understand my dad's thinking on Father's Day. Kids are taught in Sunday school, preschool, and by their loving moms, all about honoring their daddy on that special day. So the homemade cards and little gifts come. And the kids beam proudly as they present what they've done to say "I love you, Daddy." It's sweet and touching and all of that; but I am now seeing it through my own father's eyes. Of course, children should honor their fathers - and their mothers - as the Bible says. It's the only one of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise attached.
"'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:2-3).
The continuity of love from the parents, and honor and respect from their children, keeps families intact and strong from generation to generation. That's the foundation of a society.
But as a dad, I now sense what my dad felt. I don't expect honor nor do I feel that I deserve it. Father's Day reminds me of my responsibility. What I do or don't do has a cumulative effect on my kids. I know this because of all the people I have counseled. For good or ill, we respond to the situations of life based on what we experienced with our parents. I hear my father's words coming out of my mouth at times. When stuck with a problem, a broken appliance or a toy, I find myself replaying scenes from my childhood when I watched Dad handle something similar. I also have caught myself doing what he did regarding my sister. It was easier to just let Mom handle the girl stuff; not spending as much instructive time with her as he did with me. I have to be intentional about being with my girls.
Father's Day doesn't hold the same sacred status as Mother's Day. A lot of dads are okay with that. I recall a conference I was required to attend being scheduled for Father's Day weekend. That would never happen on Mother's Day weekend. "Hell hath no fury as a woman (several thousand of them) scorned," as the saying goes. Perhaps a lot of men feel as my dad did, and as I do now; too much fuss over something I am nowhere near mastering. Fatherhood is not just "making babies" - any dog can do that. Being a dad is a sacred responsibility.
Harmon Killebrew, the great home run hitter for the Minnesota Twins, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. At the induction ceremony he told of how he got started in baseball. His father spent hours playing catch in the backyard with him and his brother. One day, his mom came out and complained that the base running and chasing grounders was ruining the grass. Harmon's dad replied, "We're not raising grass here; we're raising boys."
What if his dad had cared more about the lawn? And, even though his brother never became a major league ball player, don't you think those hours of playing catch with their dad had an impact on him as well?
As a dad, I often berate myself for what I could have done better. To sin, by definition, is to "miss the mark." I have sinned often. But be assured, Dads, and keep trying.
"...for 'love will cover a multitude of sins'" (I Peter 4:8).
LOVE... Yours. Theirs. And God's.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 10:45pm, both days.

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