June 14, 2013

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

Fathers Day is the time to celebrate good men

Cynthia DewesIf ladies weren’t so darned attractive there’d probably be no such thing as Father’s Day. That’s because the paternal instinct seems to kick in later than the maternal one, maybe around Junior’s first day of school. Maybe not until Sis’s wedding.

Paternal duties also differ somewhat from the maternal kind. Moms kiss banged-up knees to make them well, and kiss heartbroken teens when they’re rejected by their first love. They fix relationships and emotional problems.

Dads, on the other hand, fix “things,” inanimate objects or situations calling for practical solutions. They also help more often with science and math problems, unless Mom happens to be a rocket scientist or something.

Dads are extremely important for daughters’ weddings. As one of our sons explained when reporting on his daughter’s upcoming nuptials, “I keep my wallet open and my mouth shut.”

In return, a dad gets to walk down the aisle with the bride and “give her away” to the churl waiting for her at the altar. Which event, by the way, does not automatically mean that he can put away his wallet.

Some dads are good dancers, some dads can sing, and some just think they can, especially when they’re in the shower. Some dads like to do certain guy things with other men, like playing cards, golfing, hunting or watching car races.

Good dads contribute to the welfare of their wife and kids in many ways—financially, emotionally and physically. Some work long and hard to support the family, even taking jobs they’re not crazy about in order to put food on the table.

Others watch the kids while Mom goes out to a higher-paying job. Just like moms, they can be capable nose blowers, diaper changers and lunch providers, not to mention comforters in the rocking chair.

Since dads are often more interested in, and more knowledgeable about, machinery and the military and such, they can teach kids things that moms don’t. Things like why light bulbs work, what happened at the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, or why you should stop the car when it makes a grinding noise.

Dads teach sons how to be men, husbands and fathers. They may teach in words, actions or just by being present. Their example is paramount in boys’ lives, including as sports coaches and Boy Scout leaders when birth dads can’t be on hand.

Good dads teach boys to be kind and responsible. They understand the importance of thanking wives every day for a good meal, or being polite to neighbors, customers or employees. They learn to listen.

In turn, girls learn how to relate to men by having a good dad. They learn that men should respect women at all times, and that women are equal partners with men in making a happy marriage, a healthy child and a good life.

I’ve always believed that it’s easier for all of us to believe in a loving God when we’ve had a good father ourselves. We can trust that God is interested in each of us because our fathers were. We know that God will advise us, protect us and give us joy because our fathers did. After all, our dads, like all men, were made in the image of God the Father.

So, here’s wishing a Happy Father’s Day to our dads, and a “thank you” to God, the original Father of us all.
 

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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