Father’s Day without Dad

Father's day without Dad“As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” –1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Today is Father’s Day, the one day each year that we honor dad.  Fatherhood is one of the most important roles in life and one that I have always taken seriously.  Being a dad, mentor at the jail, coach, uncle, and grandpa are the most meaningful tasks I have ever performed.  Yes, I love being a father!

But, on Father’s day, it is important to note that one in three kids today grow up without a father.  Single moms have become more commonplace and the lack of influence of a father figure in a child’s life is one of the main causes in the breakdown of family life.  Some men today just don’t understand the importance of being present for their kids.

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”  — Saint Pope John XXIII

Others, through no fault of their own, have lost their fathers.  Accidents and illnesses have claimed decent men, wonderful fathers, and terrific teachers too soon. For some lucky kids, an uncle, neighbor, grandfather of family friend will fill that role.  These unofficial dads are special people.  They become the surrogate father figures that will never be forgotten.

My friend Bob lost his dad at age 3.  The men in the neighborhood rose to the occasion and many became unofficial dads.  Recently, he shared:

“I was lucky in a way, because every father in my neighborhood became my father in my mind. If I did something wrong or something good one of them would say so. I felt lucky, and thank them later in my life when I saw them.”

As sons, Father’s Day reminds us just how much we miss our fathers.  I often wish that my dad was around to share in my success, to get to know his great grandson, or to just enjoy a fishing trip, round of golf or a great meal together.  So, I have adopted a few older friends as unofficial fathers and have enjoyed times with them in his honor.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”  –Jim Valvano

Many reading this might be experiencing their first Father’s Day without dad.  The first year following the death of a father is a tough one.  Christmas, his birthday, Easter and annual family gatherings become sad times that were once happy ones. Father’s Day is one of those.  I understand.

What can we do to make that day a memorable one and less difficult.  Here are a few things to try:

  1. Do something he enjoyed.  A cookout, ballgame, or family gatherings are a great way to keep his memory alive.
  2. Tell a story. Even though dad is not there, share stories, lessons he taught you, and funny things he said over the years that made you laugh.
  3. Honor him with your fatherhood. The best way to honor your father is with your own fatherhood.  Let’s your kids see how much you love their mother.  And, if you don’t have your own kids, become an unofficial dad to a kid or kids in need.
  4. Do things that would have made him proud. Work hard, be kind and generous, make your family a priority and be a father figure to those who have no father.
  5. Don’t forget your heavenly father. Saint Joseph has always been one of my favorite saints.  We don’t know much about him from the bible, but what we do know is that he shared the same title with God.  That title was “Father.”  To Jesus, Joseph was his earthly father and God his heavenly father!  God is your heavenly father too!

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” — Psalm 103:13

How will you celebrate dad today?  How can you honor him with your own fatherhood?  Happy Father’s Day!

Here are some other stories about fathers and Father’s Day from Tony:

To Have a Father.

I Wish I Was Your Daughter

On Father’s Day

A Father’s Love Letter


Father's Day without Dad(1)

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