TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
June is the month we celebrate fatherhood and so I would like to congratulate our fathers and to say to them, well done and thank you for being a father; a father that is present, that cares, that nurtures, that protects, that provides, that models, that encourages, that understands; a pillar of strength, support and discipline. Thank you for bringing us into this world and for hanging in there with us to make sure we turn out right; that we become what we are meant to be; that we grow up into decent human beings, with sensitivity toward others, appreciation of life’s gifts, and a sense of responsibility for ourselves and for humanity. Thank you for being dad. Your work is endless and, many-a-time, thankless. But it is always worth it, no matter what, for in the end, your work shows up in how we turn out.
Being a dad is not an easy job yet you embrace it for the love you have for God and for your children. So we pray that God will continue to encourage you to do right by your kids. Please know that your children love it when you stay involved in their lives, providing discipline, monitoring their behavior, teaching them how to appreciate what they have and not to take things for granted, helping them pick up responsibilities earlier on in life, spending time with them having fun together, listening to them, helping them with homework, telling them stories about family origins, sharing meals together around the dinner table, and giving them guidance on how to navigate this world. As you may know, this type of presence helps cut down behavioral delinquencies and substance abuse among children. It also helps them do much better at school and to do the right things in life. Also while your children may not like it, at the time, they do however expect you not to let them get away with evil. They expect you to be strong in disapproving their misdeeds, to provide appropriate discipline, to use tough love and to put down your foot when necessary. Yes, they may resist and fight you, but don’t worry, one day they will bless you for it. The Bible says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time… Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrew 12:11). Moreover, your children are thrilled when they see you living out the values you are trying to teach them because they believe and learn more from what they see than from what they hear.
It is also helpful to know that your children tend to be more trusting of your guidance when you are open-minded with them. Remember that times, people, and tastes do change over time. Your kids may not live the same kind of life you had or do the same kind of things you did. Your kids are happy when you listen to what they have to say; when you support the things that they would like to become in life (as long as it is not self-destructive or misguided); when you are their first stop when it comes to encouragement. Your words matter a lot to them, and so, it is important that your words be life-giving, edifying, and encouraging.
Above all, thank you for loving your children, even when you are upset with them; when they are not measuring up to your expectations; when they disagree with you and you feel like throwing them under the bus. Your children need you as dads, no matter what, and so never give up on them. May the heavens reward you abundantly for what you do to keep your family going!