Father’s Day is the one day in the year when parishes and communities and this whole nation honor the dignity and the sacredness of fatherhood.
On this day we tell fathers that their vocation is noble and precious. It is a sacred calling. It is a holy calling. It can be rewarding. It can be satisfying.
Yet, we live in an age when more than 20 million children grow up without the engagement of their biological fathers. We have runaway fathers and part-time fathers and missing fathers. Children deserve better. Children hunger for stable and caring adult role models.
Almost every man can father a child. But not every man can be a good father in a child’s life. Yet, fathers are central to the emotional and social well being of their children. They can greatly impact their sense of God and sense of morality.
Fathers can make a huge difference in their children’s lives. Children who are well bonded and feel they are much loved by their fathers tend to have fewer behavioral problems. They will have less depression; they have less alcohol abuse; they have less drug addiction; and they have fewer school issues.
The quality of children’s interactions with their fathers will affect how they feel about themselves and how they develop. Every word their fathers speak to them and every action they perform affects and impacts each one of them in some way.
When fathers are consistent and loving in their words and their deeds, it makes a strong difference in their children’s lives. It empowers the children to internalize that they have value; they have dignity; and they do matter. It is then they are happier and more fulfilled and satisfied.
Good fathers are all around us. They go above and beyond for the benefit of the family. They are considerate and kind. They are tuned in to how the family feels. They know what they need. They take initiative. They don’t give up easily. They inspire by example.
All the research would indicate that fathers are as important as mothers in their respective lives. Both parents are key in their roles as caretakers and as positive role models for their children. Parents lead most effectively by their example. They teach by the manner in which they live their lives.
When Pope Benedict XVI attended a first holy Communion Mass at the Cathedral in Regensburg Germany in 2005, he called parents to teach by example when he said to them:
“Let your children see you pray before and after meals; let them see you pray in the morning; let them see you pray before you go to bed; let them see you worship on Sunday morning; let them see you receive holy Communion regularly; let them see you walk with Jesus and talk with Jesus.”
And Plato says;
“Let parents bequeath to their children,
But the spirit of reverence.”
Msgr. Thomas J. Morgan is a retired pastor of the Diocese of Camden.