As we celebrate Father’s Day, I am reminded that, according to Scripture, “the glory of a child is his father” (see Proverbs 17:6). Alas, not all children can make those words their own — some fathers are unloving and selfish, living for themselves and giving their children only the crumbs of their precious time.
At this time, I feel the need to look back and reflect on what my own father has meant to me. It is easy for journalists to write about parenthood as a concept. But not everyone dares to write about Dad. So I want to be daring. Because, sincerely, I can make the words of that proverb my own.
Dad guided me along God’s way (Psalm 32:8). He punctually took me to every catechism class, and I learned from him to pray every morning on our way to school — the same way I lead my sons in prayer today. He made sure we never missed Sunday Mass and that we arrived at church an hour before the Easter triduum liturgies to secure seats for all his family.
When necessary, he has corrected me — even now, when I am close to 50 (Proverbs 3:12).
He assured me more than once that God would always be there to protect me when he could not (Psalm 27:1). Even though he taught me by example never to permit injustice, he has always made me reconsider my battles before I fight them, so I proceed with prudence and sanity (Proverbs 4:1). He also made clear that I must always respect those who are older or have authority, and not be defiant (Psalm 78:8).
For sure, Dad dreamed that one day I would become, I would achieve, I would get. But he never dreamed for me, never imposed his dreams on me, never destroyed those dreams God planted in my heart — even when they caused his greatest sorrow. While I know that, at the time, it was my best decision, I will never forgive myself for the pain I inflicted on my dad when I announced I would leave home for a distant country, to chase a dream. I had never seen my dad so sad. Nonetheless, he encouraged my dreams and celebrates today when they come true.
I thank Dad who, though severe and demanding, never laid a finger on me. At most, he raised his voice, and very loud! Thus I know it is possible to raise a child without whacking him, and I have never hurt my sons either.
Dad was a stubborn marathoner, and I could never step even on his shadow. Some said I didn’t run as much as him because I was lazy. That was false. My dad ran farther for the simple reason that he is better than me. I wish I had half his tenacity, discipline and perseverance. Every finish line he crossed made me admire him even more.
Today, I make the words of that proverb my own and declare, “Thank you, Dad, for the glory of your son is his father.”
Be passionate about our faith!
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - June 2020