Father’s Day. We give Dad something like a pocket knife or a round of golf. We remind him that we appreciate his work and that his role is valuable. It’s a worthwhile holiday, even if it’s a bit underwhelming sometimes. Nonetheless, a good dad is priceless, which is worth celebrating.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are deeply-saddened on Father’s Day. It’s a painful reminder of what could have been, or once was. There are so many who would give anything to have a father to celebrate. So many men wish they could go back in time and do it over again. So many had a terrific dad, only to lose him. For too many, Father’s Day is a reminder of disappointment or tragedy: car accident, cancer, divorce, abandonment, infertility, suicide, or decades of emotional distance. Let this be a reminder that fatherhood should not be taken for granted.
Fortunately, there are many men who have enjoyed the privilege of fatherhood for decades and have taken the responsibility very seriously. They are fortunate, indeed, as are their children.
An old college buddy of mine wrote on his FaceBook wall the following tribute to his dad. “Growing up, he never was distracted by trying to get me to like him – probably the most impressive thing about his love for me. I see parents all the time that try to get their kids to like them so THEY can feel good. It takes a takes a hell of a lot of vision, self-confidence, and faith to be a great parent.”
It’s such a tough job, being a parent. It’s one thing or another, an uphill journey with no end. It’s my firm belief that the price of being a loving parent is high, one way or another. You pay now, or pay later. But the highest price is the paid along the path of least resistance. Those who take the easy road parenting end up in the worst destinations. But those who choose to sacrifice, serve, teach, discipline, encourage, and love their kids daily, making their kids’ needs (not wants) their top priority, will have a tough time of it too. Later, however, they will enjoy the sweet fruits of their work, in the form of beautiful, powerful relationships – full of respect and affection.
Unfortunately, the norm seems to be that parents are giving up the hard role of being a parent and taking on the fun role of just being a friend. So many kids are raising themselves – ineffectively. They are figuring things out the hard way, or not figuring things out in any way. And that is one of society’s biggest problems. This is largely due to parents making deals with their kids to make them happy, rather than making the tough choices that lead to good character.
So, choose to be the adult in your relationship with your child. And encourage others (tactfully, of course) to be the parent, not just a friend. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Training is tough, but it pays off. Ask any athlete, soldier, or dog owner.
Be the adult, the teacher, the leader, the protector, the provider, the encourager — and yes, the friend. The payoff will be immense.