Yesterday was Father’s Day. But what does that mean in these modern times? I read headlines that President Obama is calling upon men to be better father’s than his. Yet, I also heard on a television talk show this week that there is call to abolish Father’s Day in the UK, because ‘it is just a way for card companies to make money.’ I think also of the Chris Rock skit about the role of fathers; how all they ever get is ‘the big piece of chicken.’
So have fathers and Father’s Day become obsolete? Scientific research and every major religion attest to the fact that fathers play a crucial role in the emotional development of their children. Studies show that ‘fatherless’ children are more likely to drop out of school, have behavioural problems and end up in a life of crime. The Bible teaches us…Honour thy Father and thy Mother. Can there be any doubt about the importance of the father on this day and every day?
Yet as the daughter of a father that was the equal of President Obama’s and the mother of six children by three fathers, my spirit cries out about the important role of fathers. I will never completely recover from the abandonment of my father at the age of two. I have sought in vain for a replacement in my step-father, my grandfather, teachers and more failed relationships than I can count.
My first husband with whom I had four children was only marginally better than my own father. My younger son’s father is an improvement. But in my husband now, I have found both an excellent father and a wonderful partner. I remember the night that he came home from work, but then discovered that we needed something from the store. As he put his coat back on to walk to the corner store, our precious two-year old little girl with her dark brown curls and big brown eyes wrapped her little arms around his leg. She sat on the top of his foot and repeated over and over, ‘Good daddy, wuv daddy.’
But the strongest testament to their love was the night that my tough husband allowed his little girl to dress him in an assortment of her bracelets and necklaces. . For you to appreciate that story, you should know that my husband looks a great deal like Green Mile star Michael Clarke Duncan. He could easily be a bouncer at any nightclub and possesses a stare that would stop any mischief. To top it all off was the flashing Disney Little Princesses’ crown that we had bought at Disney World on top of his shaved head. I would kill for a picture of that, but of course he would never allow physical evidence such as that. But it is nonetheless a picture I carry close to my heart every day.
If like my youngest son and daughter, you are blessed with a wonderful dad then make sure he knows how you feel about him…with more than the big piece of chicken. And not necessarily an expensive card…a homemade one with love or a heart-felt letter will do as well. If like President Obama, my children and I, you have an absentee or highly flawed father, then honour the role of the father, if not the man that held it in your life. Because trust me after over forty years of trying, I promise you nothing can ever replace the love of a father for his child.