Father’s Day is a time to recall dedication of life and love
I just returned from a special trip. It was long, all the way to the East Coast, but it was worth the distance. I got to see my first great-grandchild, a little boy who was already 7 weeks old by the time I got there.
I looked at him, held him, fed him, burped him and prayed for him. When he got heavy, I handed him back to his mother. I felt awe at how small he was. Babies are tiny, so soft and precious.
As I held him I thought of the generations of family I have known. My mother's grandmother was alive for most of my childhood. I had grandparents, parents and I became a father, grandfather and now, a great-grandfather. I have known seven generations in my family.
My great-grandmother was born in 1852 in Scotland, and my great-grandson was born in 2008 in New Jersey. How the world has changed in those 156 years, yet some things never change. The need to parent never changes.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. Fathers vary in parenting skills, but they all gave our life to us. They protect us and teach us to respect authority. My dad insisted that I honor my mother, and he would not permit me to talk back to her.
Scripture describes God as male, our heavenly Father, and it describes how God knew us while we were growing in our mother's womb, that he knit us wonderfully together in that stage of life, that he chose us before the world was formed and that he made us in his image.
Scripture tells us to honor our dad. It does not say honor him if he does or does not do certain things. It says we are to honor Dad because doing that honors God and permits God to honor you. Scripture tells Dad not to be unduly harsh with his children because that is the best way for children to build confidence in their earthly and heavenly Father.
The Bible says that a wise child makes her father glad. The joy that Dad feels stems from the reward that wisdom brings to the child. Dads want more for us than they were able to experience. Dads sacrifice what their kids think of them to accomplish what Dad knows is best for the child.
I have watched my children and grandchildren grow for more than 56 years now. I did some good things as their father, and some that were not so good. I cannot remember ever doing something that was intended to do anything but help them. My actions and decisions were always founded in what was best for them.
They often disagreed but I stuck to my guns. I was Dad, and I was right -- even if I was wrong. They call that taking responsibility, and you are always responsible for your children even when they are all grown up and have children and grandchildren of their own.
Father's Day is the day we celebrate what Dad did for us, what no other person could do for us, by giving us life. Some of us still have a father who looks out for us, gives us good advice and worries about our choices.
Tomorrow is the day to tell Dad you love him and appreciate him.
Murray Hohns is an associate pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship.