Father’s Day is fast approaching, so of course one could think that this blog is because of Father’s Day. While the thought of doing a blog on fathers was stimulated by the holiday, the points made within are not just for Father’s Day. We should honor our parents all the days of our life, and theirs.
Not having had a stable father in my life, this is not an easy blog to write. I now know, and have known for many years, that my legal father was not my biological father. I have known who my biological father was for twenty years, although he never acknowledged me as his child. That story is not the subject of this post, so enough about that for now. I am grateful to my half-sisters who have acknowledged me, and for DNA testing that answered that father question for me. Both my legal and biological fathers are deceased.
There are many references in the Bible about honoring one’s father and mother. “Honor Thy Father” does not have a qualifier attached to it. It does not say, “Honor Thy Father if he is a good father.” Some fathers are not good. We are to honor them anyway. But what does “to honor” them really mean?
The dictionary definition of honoring someone is “to treat them with respect and admiration.” We could carry this analysis further and ask, “what is respect and admiration?” But I do not think we need to do that. We know what this means in layman’s terms, don’t we?
The most important way we show someone respect and admiration is by spending time with them. That is why spending time with our father or father figure on one day of the year, Father’s Day, is an insufficient way to honor them, or even to celebrate them. They deserve more than that.
Sometimes the physical distance between us and our father makes it difficult to see him frequently. Regardless, we need to make him a priority. We should make the commitment to see him as frequently as possible and keep that commitment. Additionally, we need to call frequently, and that means at least once a week. Not text, call. I have a couple of friends who call their parents daily. That is admirable, and not something most are willing to do (note I did not say “are able to do. We are all able to, just don’t!)
I know that some reading this have had difficult relationships with their father. This brings to mind the abusive father writer Pat Conroy had, who he wrote about quite openly in his books. Thankfully, Pat Conroy and his father made peace before his father died. I hope the same is true for those reading this who need this example. “Making peace” does not negate the trauma or excuse it, but it does help the healing.
Perhaps this Father’s Day can be the beginning of a renewed commitment to spend time with, to care for, and to honor our fathers. While we still can.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers!