Honoring Fathers


Honor your father and mother…
Exodus 20:12a

Once a year, the United States honors fathers on the third Sunday in June.  Many people will gift their fathers with a tie or a T-shirt that says Bank of Dad.  Studies show that these are a father’s least favorite gifts.  We will spend $7.4 billion less than we did on our mothers last month.  So what is the number one gift fathers wish for on Father’s Day?  Quality time with family.

I grew up in the time when the number one job of a father was to provide for his family.  My father worked all the time.  When I wanted to see my father, I worked with him.  We didn’t throw a ball in the back yard or bake together in the kitchen.

But I have many memories of quality time together.  I remember marching next to my dad at an anti-war rally.  We wore black armbands, and I carried a sign that said “Shut the door on the draft.”  We took family vacations together and my dad taught me the State song, “O what did Idaho?  She hoed a Maryland.”  He told me family stories of life in Nigeria.  He taught me how to visit the homebound.  When I went to seminary, he wrote me every week.

This will be my first year of not having a living father.  I won’t write him a card about what he has meant to me and send it off too late for him to get it on time.  I won’t call him on Father’s Day and speak my words of love.  I will remember him and wish I had more time to tell him how lucky I was to have him for a father.

If you have a father or an uncle or a brother or a husband or male mentor that you want to honor this year, the best way to do that is not with an apron that says “King of the Grill”.  The best way is with your presence.