Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day--A Big Deal

photo by sightmybyblinded / flickr
"As my father had done with me,
Once when my infant son
Woke crying from his sleep, 
I carried him out to the yard
To show him the full moon
Rising branch by branch through
The trees, a vision strong enough
To settle him.
                  'Moon!' I said,
               He was dazzled,
Struggled with the word until
He croaked, 'Moo, moo!'  "
        --Aaron Paul Zimmer

Fathers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are wonderful and the memories their children have this Father’s Day will be warm and healthy. Others children find Father’s Day hard. This day holds no place of wonder in their memories. Father’s Day is a painful time and they hope to skip the celebration.

When my daughter was little—she would climb up in my lap as I read the paper or watched TV. She would take her tiny hands, put them of both sides of my face and point my head in her direction. Usually she would say the same thing, “Look at me Daddy. Look at me!”

Dozens of times through the years, at the swimming pool, some soccer game or play at school they crane their heads in all directions trying to see if their Daddy is watching., “Look at me,” they think, “look at me.”

The Bible says that one day Joshua reached up and stopped the sun. Fathers can perform this miracle in their own families. By their care, their love and attention they can make the sun stand still for their children.  

Brooks Adams was once U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. He began keeping a diary when he was a small boy. One entry read: “Went fishing with my father, The most glorious day of my life.” The father also kept a diary. His entry for that day was: “Went fishing with my son—a day wasted.”  The Daddy missed the point.

Father’s Day reminds us that we fathers are to put down the paper, turn off the TV and the cell phone. We are to grab our children by their hands go out and look at the stars,  listen to the the birds, kneel down and just discover the wonders lurking in the grass.

On week-ends sometimes I wander into a fast food restaurant and see them sitting in a corner. A man with his child—sometimes two children. He wears no wedding band. I guess that marriage is behind him. Often I see him laughing and enjoying being with his youngsters. The looks on their faces is absolute delight. Sometimes you see another Daddy glancing at his watch, looking around the restaurant obviously bored. It’s another court-appointed Father’s Day.

The real Father’s day is not a sentimental or over-commercialized occasion. This day is a reminder that the sun really can stand still with a child. Many of us fathers have missed many opportunities to just be there when our children really need us. 

One of the moving stories that came out of Beau Biden’s funeral recently was that story of how Joe Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident as they were going out looking for a Christmas tree. His two sons ages one and three survived the accident.

Joe Biden was sworn into the Senate in his boys' hospital room as they recovered. And daily, for years this father would take the train home to Wilmington, Delaware after a hard day's work in Washington. He wanted to be with his children and to see them off to school the next day. Then he would board the train, head back to Washington to do his work representing his state. At his son's funeral each of the Senator's children spoke of how their father was one of the most important people in their lives.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that long after we are gone this day will be special and memorable for our children. Because they will remember that once upon a time their Daddy really did reach up and
stop the sun.

Image: AllcePopkorn / flickr

--Roger Lovette  /

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