Happy Father's Day

Sunday is “Happy Father’s Day” time for the approximately 75 million fathers in the U.S. It is also a time to remember the fathers who have passed away yet live on in our memory.

I truly believe any fool can be a father, at least as far as genetics is concerned. You have to look no further than the daily onslaught of daytime talk shows to find evidence of that. Pope John XXIII put it this way: “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”

A real father whether related to their children by blood or not, are the ones worthy of celebrating. Biology is not the determining factor here. Love is.

There are fathers who have adopted their children and fathers who have become dads through marriage and even through other scientific methods. There are fathers who are widowed and fathers whose families have two dads (or more) because of remarriage. As long as their love is authentic and deep, no one can deny that they are “real fathers.”

Fathers have a lot to deal with these days, including popular culture that reduces fathers to zany sitcom characters or heartless tyrants. They have to care for and protect their children from dangers as old as time and from modern perils as well. They have to teach their sons and daughters ethics, morals and character in a world that at times seems confused about the difference between right and wrong. Fathers must recognize and take responsibility for the fact that they will make mistakes in raising their sons and daughters. It is OK to make corrections and hopefully in the end learn to say the words, “I’m sorry.” Children must learn to see the wisdom in their father’s heart at last and reach the point where the words attributed to Mark Twain become true: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

To understand that each child is unique helps prepare both father and child for their eventual journey in life. Fathers must bear enormous heartbreak and joy simultaneously as their son or daughter finds his or her way in the world. When fathers have raised their kids, by hard work and good luck, to be upstanding, independent adults, they know that they have done their job. Sunday is the day when children should take time to say, “Thank you,” and “I love you,” in some way. May your Father’s Day be filled with both gratitude and love. Have a great week, Page.