Let’s shift our gaze this time to the man of the house, the leader, and the head of the pact – Dad or Father! - The other half of the nurturing arrangement created by God for families everywhere. We know how Mom functions as the heart and soul of the family— as the hand that rocks the cradle. But Father, on the other hand, is provider and leader rolled up into one. A father works to provide food for the table, shelter over our heads, clothing for our bodies, medicines when sick, and books for our education. As captain at the helm of the ship, he steers the family through still and rough waters and charters the course onwards toward a bright future with the wisdom of his years and experience.
While I was at the computer writing this, my nephew came up to me and for a second looked over my work. “What’s this, auntie?” he asked quite curiously. But he didn’t wait for my reply, instead he said “Write about my dad for the world to know that dads suck!” then he stormed out of the room. I was left there stunned and speechless. But just for a brief moment because I knew and understood why the kid felt that way. Let me tell you about his dad. Bear with me for a bit and you will know why.
His dad was an absentee father; he wasn’t there for him most times he was growing up. Those times when he was home he would be glued to the television set all day. He provided for the family with a stringent budget which he required strict adherence to. He never connected with his son nor tried; didn’t ask how school was or about his friends or if he needed anything at all. He dictated, commanded, ordered everyone around —everything had to be done his way. Wouldn’t tolerate contradictions nor listen to suggestions from his wife and much less his children. When disobeyed, he would heap verbal abuse on that person who disobeyed him. His word was the law. Such is the person his father was.
Strange, isn’t it, running contrary to the image we have drawn up here of a father? So why did I include this incident with my nephew here? Because I would like to highlight the fact that fathers are human, too, and such behavior is simply an aberration of character. It doesn’t mean that all fathers are that way – insensitive and tyrannical. Flaws in character can be seen in everyone in odd mixture and degree. That’s not strange—even parents are not perfect. My nephew’s father is a proverbial caricature of such oddity or character flaw. Now whether or not this particular family will be able to resolve the issue in good time before great damage occurs (maybe it has already), I don’t know. What I know is that sometimes before lessons can be fully learned, we are made to go through the fire and get burned. My nephew is heading in that direction.
Well, his father may be a ‘jerk’ (Ooops! Did I say that?)-- But it doesn’t change what I have set out to do here. I salute all fathers – worthy tools in the hands of God for our nurturing. Oh yes, God created fathers, too. Through my dad’s strong hands I learned to ride my first bike, play ball, and swim. He glued back the broken leg of my wooden horse, he calmly talked to the father of the bully kid next door; troubleshoot the car engine when it broke down in the middle of the highway; and one late night long ago, frantically drove my mom to the hospital when my baby sister was to be born. Yeah, dad’s so cool except when mom’s in trouble. Then he’s a nervous wreck!
A father is the other side of the nurturing pact, the mother holding the other end of it. Jointly and separately they oversee and nurture our lives. While the mother is the heart and soul of that special arrangement, the father takes on the role of its head and its physical attributes. On his shoulders lie the burden and responsibility of providing the physical environment which would enable us to properly grow, live and love. He is the wheel and the rudder that steer us in the right direction helping us along to our dreams right on the vehicle of his stewardship of our lives. Thank God for blessing us with fathers! God bless them all. By the way, tell your dad that you love him today. Because fathers don’t live forever; I lost mine many years ago.
posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:14 AM