My Father’s Day started the night before, as my oldest son and I headed to a Major League Soccer game. I love soccer and taking him to experience the sights and sounds unique to professional soccer was as exciting for me as it was for him. I kept a close eye on him, making sure to point out soccer hooligans and explaining what a corner kick was. The time was well spent as The next morning I was permitted to sleep, but as soon as I wandered into the living room I was wrapped in hugs and anxious “me first” to give me their home made cards. All promptly followed by breakfast at the Golden Corral. As I sat down to share my wonderful time with friends on Facebook I came across this “I see all the posts for people who had fathers to care. I’m jealous.”
There are thousands of children and adults for whom Father’s Day is not a reminder of childhood dreams, but a recurring nightmare. It’s a constant reminder of the man who abandoned them, who didn’t love them, and wanted nothing to do with them. Or of the monster whose constant verbal and/or physical abuse left scars that will never heal.
The sad reality is that there countless fathers who do not deserve the title. Their children bear witness to their own self loathing and irresponsibility for an action most wish they could take back. They don’t appreciate the beautiful life that they took part in creating, and in so doing share the responsibility of shaping. It is the responsibility of men who take part in bringing a life into this world to be the man that boy or girl longs for. Despite what your own experience was or is, it is not yours to perpetuate a cycle that is a scar on the body of society.
A father can fill the hopes and dreams of a child to achieve anything in their imagination, or they can shatter those dreams without so much as a word. I’ve been blessed to be witness to the balance that a father brings to molding the life of a child. From the infinite impact of my own father’s nurturing, guidance, and love to my own contribution in shaping the lives of my own boys. Children not only need a father’s love, they crave it. With every “Daddy look”, they seek his approval that they are accepted.
My heart breaks knowing today is full of people who just for one moment wish they could have the strong arms of a father wrap around them and make them believe that everything will be all right. Who long for that voice to say “It’s okay, I’ve got you” without so much as the faintest sign of doubt. To be told “I love it because you made it” while sporting the world’s ugliest tie for the world to see.
Children, love your fathers because most of the time they’re just as scared as you are.
Fathers, love your children because at the end of the day all they really want is for you to accept them.
And pray for those whose fathers are absent for whatever reason. Especially those who may never have been blessed enough to know their father in the first place.