Wednesday, June 15, 2011
What Dad did right: 7 QuickTakes
Fathers are underrated in our culture today, which is sad because I think they are so vital to the success of a family. Fathers are often dismissed on one hand and then made to feel guilty about not being involved (a la “Cats in the Cradle”). They are stereotyped, judged and derided at every attempt to assert their God-given role of leaders and protectors of their families. It takes a very special man to rise above these cultural obstacles and become the loving and supportive leaders our families so desperately need. My father is one of these men.
His own fatherhood flourished in a household of five women, none of whom were shy about expressing their opinions about any given subject. This list is dedicated to you, Daddy (yes, I’m 36 years old and still call my father “Daddy”)...seven QuickTakes on what Dad did right:
1. He always went to Mass with us. This is a big deal, I’ve come to realize through years of parish-watching. Men are sparse at Mass, and I didn’t realize the extent of this until our first Mother’s Day at our current parish. All mothers and daughters were invited to process in with flowers for Mary. The remaining men could have filled only the first three pews. A wave of gratitude washed over me as I realized how blessed my mother and sisters were to have my father always with us at Mass.
2. He spent time with us on his days off. One of my fondest memories from childhood was Saturday mornings. The smell of coffee and pancakes would beckon me to wake. As I entered the kitchen, my sisters would be gathered little black-and-white TV, and Daddy would sometime pause to watch and laugh as Coyote fell off a cliff and got pummeled by an anvil.
3. He used his talents to relate to us. Some fathers might be daunted by having four daughters, being puzzled by these feminine creatures. My dad played to his strengths. He put us all in sports, and he coached our teams (usually all girls). I remember watching A League of Their Own with my dad, and watching him laugh as Tom Hanks shouted, “There’s no crying in baseball!” I think that’s something he had wanted to say on more than one occasion.
4. He worked for his family. When people get all weepy about how their father wasn’t there for them enough, I sometimes wonder if they aren’t taking for granted all the time he spent working for them at his job. This sacrificial love is not unnoticed by me, especially now that I know how much it costs to provide for a family.
5. He talked to us about important things. My dad has a great sense of humor, but he also likes to keep up on what is going on around him, especially in relation to faith and politics. His natural interest in history always made for great discussions about social and economic policies that would have an impact on our God-given freedoms.
6. He enforced curfew. If we weren’t home by a certain hour, I knew that our Dad would come looking for us. I think I had a healthy fear of my Dad showing up somewhere, a little discombobulated because of lack of sleep, and full of lecture notes he had compiled on the way.
7. He set a standard for my choice of spouse. My dad is a faithful husband and father who always worked hard and found true joy in his fatherhood. My own husband had the bar set high for him, and I was pleased to know that I could find a man who could measure up. I wouldn’t have settled for anything less.
Thank you, Daddy, for being such a great husband and father. Your fatherly example continues to bless our family each day.