Father's Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June in the USA. In many other countries around the world we celebrate Father's Day. Personally, in my house, everyday is Father's Day concerning God. But let's talk about earthly dads. It's one thing to have children, it's entirely another to be a father.
A man can be a father without having a biological link to his children.
There's more to being a father than merely contributing seed to the forming of another human being. Way more; but all you fathers out there already know that. And so, today we salute you.
We celebrate your fatherhood with you. We congratulate you for your success in leading your family and we admire you for all that you selflessly do for your family.
I love my father. Growing up I did not get to spend much time with him. He worked a lot, sometimes two jobs plus side projects to earn enough money so he could, in his words, “Put food on the table and have a roof over our heads”. I respected that but as a kid I didn't fully understand it.
I just wanted to be with him. I didn't care if he was busy working on a project or playing with me. Didn't matter to me, I just wanted to be with him. To my father, there was no time for me. He had work to do. He was driven by the words of his father. My grandfather was a hard man. Haunted by the old school advice from gramps that a man provides for his family above all costs; that a man is judged by what he does, not who he is inside. That hopes and dreams don't matter. What matters is what you can produce and that you put food on the table and keep a roof overhead.
I can count on one hand the number of times during my childhood that my father and I did anything together, just he and I. He never hugged me. He never told me he loved me. According to his father, a man just didn't do that.
As I reached my late teenage years my father began to realize the damage he'd done to his children and to himself by following the bad example of his father. A lifestyle example, by the way, that didn't work out well for my Grandfather's family either. My aunts and uncles love each other but have no warm feelings toward their own father who raised them.
My dad came around to that realization and began changing his ways. He became more involved in my life. Not much, but just enough. We spent some quality time together. He told me he loved me more often. When congratulations were earned he told me he was proud of me. In my early 20's, he supported me when I fell on hard times. He provided me with the tools and the means to start my first business, to which I am forever grateful. And still to this day, as an adult with kids of my own, he and I remain close. And dare I say, even good friends.
Minister Sweet with Dad and Sister in Hawaii, 2012
My father is to me a great example of what a true father should be. A man who cares more about providing for his family than for his own comfort. A man who values his family over all other worldly possessions. A man dedicated to personal inner growth. A man who's driving force in life is that "WHO he is" as a person is FAR MORE important that "WHAT he can produce" or how much money he makes. A man who cares for his children both physically and emotionally, leading his family as an example; as a reflection of God's love for His dear children.
As stated earlier, there's more to being a father than merely contributing seed to the forming of another human being. Way more. For all you fathers out there I'm going to state the obvious. Hopefully it's only a reminder, maybe it's something new:
Fathers, spend quality time with your children.
Your children are more precious to you in this world than anything else. Teach them, guide them, hold them, and love them. It's good for you, but it's everything for them. Your children desperately crave your approval. Not just knowing that you approve of certain things they do, but that you approve of each child, individually, as a human being. Sometimes we've grown so far from our own childhood that we've forgotten that.
Your children need your support, guidance and reassurance that they can go out into the big scary world and be a success. You are their inspiration. For that, you are priceless. And because of that, the world thanks you.
God bless you!
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by Minister Daniel Sweet