Father’s Day recognizes someone who is often overlooked. “The first observance of Father’s Day is believed to have been held 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Dodd. After listening to a sermon about Mother’s Day, Dodd felt fatherhood needed recognition, as well. She wanted a celebration that honored fathers like her father, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth. On June 19, 1910, members went to church wearing roses: red to honor a living father, and white to honor a deceased one.”  – Wikipedia

Mother’s Day is one of the most important days of the year. Father’s Day? Not so much unless you happen to own a hardware store. Dads in the media are often the target of satire where you will see four stereotypes: Workaholics, Deadbeats, Abusers, or Macho Men.

These characters certainly exist but most dads take their responsibilities seriously. Since both parents usually continue their careers, they look for creative ways to share the duties as well as the pleasures of raising their children.

A research study was done on strong families and what made them that way. They asked hundreds of questions of thousands of families. Here is what they discovered:

  1. Strong families are committed to the idea of family.
  2. Strong families spend time together.
  3. Strong families have good family communication.
  4. Strong families express appreciation to each other.
  5. Strong families have a spiritual commitment.
  6. Strong families can solve problems in a crisis.

Sounds simple and reasonable but the reality is more difficult. Rearing a house full of busy children, keeping good communication, holding down a job, spending time, expressing appreciation, solving the problems that seem to occur at the worst possible moments… and still find time to be spiritually focused? That is a big list and I can truthfully say that it is so much easier for me write about than to actually live it.

And now the situation is magnified at least 10X by the impact of COVID-19. Children once at school are now at home. There is a virus lurking everywhere that makes any kind of traveling problematic. After three plus months of forced isolation, I can only imagine the level of frustration of children and parents.

So, consider this column my tribute to the many Dads who struggle to be good parents and good providers for their families. Whether you are married or single, whether you actively share the parenting role or bear sole responsibility in raising the children – please know that God will bless you.

Paul wrote about us dads in the Bible: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) This serves as a warning for all of us to concentrate our parental energy on what is truly important.

If you are a Dad, who is involved with his children and diligently setting the right example — I honor you. If you are not that kind of dad – consider the importance of changing and know that God will forgive you and help you. Your willingness to step up to the responsibility of being a good father could be the best gift any child ever received.