Father’s Day is a wonderful opportunity for those blessed with good fathers (living or dead) to celebrate all that is usually left unsaid with cards, gifts, and shared memories of the past. Those whose experience of fatherhood has been less positive often shy away from the day and ignore it as best they can, while others concentrate on spiritual fatherhood and those who have exercised something of a father’s role in their lives. But what of fathers themselves? How do you see this day?
I can’t answer that question, for obvious reasons, but it seems to me worth pausing over because it invites reflection on what fatherhood is and how it functions at different times of our lives. Fatherhood is so important and yet very often misprized or treated as a mere biological fact. What a disservice that is to us all! My own father became my friend as I grew older and were he alive today I’m sure he would give a typically inarticulate-old-fashioned-English-gentleman response to my question. To him, fatherhood was just something one got on with, but it was a role and a duty that never ended. A father was a father always, and I suspect most of my male readers would echo that.
Today, as we give thanks for all fathers, let us also pray for those who feel they have failed or are excluded from their children’s lives, and for the children who live with the knowledge that their father rejected them or was in some way deficient in fulfilling his role.