Thoughts on Father's Day from a Man Who Isn't One
- Tuesday, June 10, 2014
What is it about Fathers Day?
I have a loving father who introduced me to the Lord at an early age. Not only has he been a Godly discipler, but he’s been a faithful husband, a concerned brother, a church elder, and a respected employee. But for some reason, in our family at least, Father’s Day has never had the same resonance that Mother’s Day does.
More Emphasis on Moms?
When my brother and I were kids, the churches our family attended would give mothers a carnation or something on Mother’s Day. And the commemoration of the day went not just to mothers, but to every woman who was attendance that Sunday, whether they had children or not.
Every Father’s Day, however, though a general announcement about thankfulness for dads would be offered from the pulpit, that would be it. No token gifts were distributed to the dads in the congregation, and only males who had progeny were acknowledged, not all men in general, regardless of whether they had kids. Single men, unlike single women, were ignored.
For my church at least, Mother’s Day was a gender-based holiday, whereas Father’s Day, to use a Biblical phrase, was a “fruit of the loins” holiday.
I used to wonder if single women find the distinction patronizing. As if failing to include them somehow indicates they are less of a woman because they aren’t mothers themselves? Most single men don’t seem to care one way or the other.
I know; I was a weird kid.
Did your family make the same kind of fuss over dads that our society makes over moms? In our family, we always took Mom out for lunch after church, but on Father’s Day we usually just went back home and maybe had steak. Gifts for moms usually run the gamut, too, from cheap jewelry to fancy chocolates to bouquets of flowers, while dads maybe got a monogrammed golf shirt, or a new necktie.
Showing Dad He Matters
Now that golf’s popularity is on the decline, and most men don’t wear ties anymore, what do families get their fathers these days? If anything?
I was at our local mechanic having the oil changed in my parents’ minivan last week and another customer there was bragging about the custom steel bumper his kids helped him buy for his pickup truck on Father’s Day last year.
Hey, we live in Texas, and pickup truck bumpers are a big deal to lots of folks here!
Maybe it’s that macho thing, like helping good ol’ Dad buy an enormous steel bumper for his full-sized pickup, which keeps Father’s Day separate from Mother’s Day. After all, we’re enculturated to presume that sentimentality and nostalgia simply don’t fit within a masculine context. But my father, although he grew up as a street-wise Brooklyn boy, complete with his own slang nickname, isn’t exactly macho. He was a homebody who spent as much time with his family as he could, eschewing golf, boating, and other “masculine” hobbies for gardening, woodworking, and other activities that he did at home, and that directly benefited his family.
He and Mom were a team, and he was the spiritual leader of our home, just like the Bible says fathers should be.
So even if the rest of our culture kinda treated Father’s Day like some sort of awkward bookend to Mother’s Day, I would wonder if my family should have been doing something special for dear ol’ Dad. Not that I did anything about it, however. I can’t even remember the last gift I bought my Dad for Father’s Day.
On the other hand, it’s easy for my brother. He’s now got five kids of his own! All he’s got to do for our Dad is put the grandkids on the phone to speak with their “Pozzy” on Father’s Day, and Dad is pleased as punch! Even though he now has dementia, and can’t put their names with their faces. Or even remember five minutes later that he’s talked with his grandchildren.
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