Fathers have vital roles in their families. The responsibility we have in forming our children is not just a job we can do with less than our full attention. Being a parent is a vocation. Therefore, it’s not something we can quit when things become difficult. Fathers don’t lower their standards, they help to raise their kids up.
Children should grow up with the kind of love that helps them to recognize how wonderfully made they are. How loved they are by God and by their parents. We need to be good husbands and treat our wives with love and respect. We need to cherish our children as the gifts they are. In fact, how we treat our extended family – the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – is critical in creating a culture of love.
We can’t just tell our children what to do – we must show them with our actions. We must show them with our love – a love they can feel, that gives them confidence to grow and explore. This should include hugs, kisses, smiles and spending time with each other. Family gatherings and eating dinner together creates a culture of values at home. It’s a daily reminder that family comes first. This isn’t something teachers can teach – it is taught by parents.
Dads are important to the development of their sons and daughters. You can’t delegate fatherhood to someone else. Our digital and “always connected” world has made the role of parents’ essential. With love and guidance, fathers can help to interpret the world to their children – both the beauty and unfortunate events we see in the news daily. We need to listen and to be patient. We can never give up on our children no matter what.
Being a good father is perhaps the most under-appreciated and hardest job in the world. It’s exhausting and rewarding. Despite the long days and nights, dads can’t give up on their children, especially not in hard situations. We need to talk things through even if our kids are pushing back. I’ve heard some fathers say, “What can I do? My son or daughter is going this way or that.” My response is that our job remains the same: to train our children to be good people.
It’s not about teaching them about business; it’s about teaching them the culture of love. If we do this right, then the love continues to the next generation of families and the world benefits. My dad and mom gave me and my brothers and sister this love, and it’s the love I now share with my wife and children. My dad was my hero. I loved and respected him because he never gave up on me or my siblings. He was patient and always took the time to teach and to talk.
Happy Father’s Day and may God strengthen all fathers for their important mission of love.