Father's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September. It is a day when children give cards and presents to their fathers to show them that they love them.
In the New Testament the relationship between Jesus as Son and the Father is well documented. The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River is mentioned in all the gospels indicating that it was an important moment in his life. Matthew, Mark and Luke record that the baptism was accompanied by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the words from the Father proclaiming to the world and to Jesus, "This is my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on him". (Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Luke 3:22). John mentions the incident but not the words of love and praise from the Father.
In recent years our society has moved from parents not praising their children in case they get a swelled head to praising them to develop healthy self-esteems. The question is often asked, should praise be earned or should praise be given to your child just because you love them?
I clearly remember two incidents where fathers obviously had opposing beliefs on the merit of when and how to give praise.
It was at a sporting carnival that I saw a heavy boy come last in his foot race. He was embarrassed because his father witnessed the defeat. However, his father hugged him and said, 'Never mind son, you can swim better than you can run and beat these kids'. The boy brightened up immediately and went off confident in his father's approval.
At another sporting event I saw a young boy whose father expected him to win a sprint race. When he was beaten unexpectedly his father turned his back on his son in disapproval.
I often wonder how these two boys turned out as fathers!
My own father died of Parkinson's disease when he was only 64 years old and he had years of decline before that. But I have stronger memories of him playing cricket with me in the backyard. When I was in the seminary he wrote me letters. Most students did not get letters from their fathers, more from their mothers.
My father wrote to me when I was in Fiji, wondering in his letter how many times he would see me before he died? As it turned out many times. How lucky was I!
What a blessing it is to have a father who cares and loves in ordinary ways and leaves good and wholesome memories.
Happy Fathers Day.
Fr Gary Walker SSC
LISTEN TO: From the Director - A father's love
(Duration: 3:02mins, MP3: 1.38MB)
- Read more from The Far East - September 2017