A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Salute to Fathers

Posted on: June 13, 2013

Saint Joseph . . . You presided over the events of [Jesus’] infancy, and your labors provided food and shelter for the Creator of the universe. You offered him and Mary love and unselfish devotion. . . . [T]he Church, with good reason, cries out, “Go to Joseph!”

– From “Prayer to Saint Joseph: Patron of Workers” in the Holy Family Prayer Book

When my son was a toddler, one of his many loud toys with push buttons featured these two sayings: “Daddy loves you” and “Let’s sing with Mommy.”

True, kids need to hear that their father loves them, but they also need to see that he does. And they need their father to model for them what a good father and husband looks like.

Here are some of the things my father modelled for my brother and me:

Dad and MinPins

My dad and two friends

The value of education. My father was the first in his family to attend university. He encouraged us to work hard in school, made me take classes in math and sciences when I no longer had to in high school so I’d “keep my options open,” and help put us through university.

The value of hard work. Now retired, Dad worked hard at his job but tried not to bring the stresses of the job home with him. Dad fixes things around the house when he can and calls repairmen when he can’t. He raises some livestock; grows a lot of fruit, vegetables, flowers and houseplants; and shares what he grows with us.

Patience. Dad worked with me until I could say “She sells seashells by the seashore” so I wouldn’t have a lisp when I started school. He explained geometry concepts to me over and over until I understood. And he started teaching me how to drive when I turned 16, although the first lesson just involved checking around the car, adjusting the seat and mirrors, and going to the bottom of the driveway and back up.

The importance of family. My parents used to have my mother’s much younger brother for a long visit each summer, even though he really tried Dad’s patience (faking asthma attacks, somehow cutting the lawnmower cord a foot from the plug, etc.). Dad checked in on his father several times a week, even though he was difficult to deal with. He regularly drove us to visit my mom’s mother, and he helped clean out her house so she could sell it. He calls his brothers on their birthdays and checks up on them when they’re ill.

Love. Dad is kind of reserved, but when I was a little girl, he’d tickle me until I couldn’t breathe and let us hang on his legs while he tried to walk down the hall. He got choked up when I sang at my uncle’s wedding and when he first met my son. And my dad usually finds a gift to hide on the Christmas tree for my mother, which he’s been doing for…oh, a few decades.

I am very thankful for my father and his example.

This Father’s Day, may we give thanks for and honour the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and other father figures who show their children how to be a loving husband and father and follower of Jesus.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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