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Happy Father’s Day

June 11, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By REY FLORES

According to History.com: “The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972 — 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official — that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States.”
For those persons who have lost their father or been abandoned by their biological father, who were conceived through rape or for any other reason grew up or are growing up without a father in their lives, this can be a tough holiday for them.
For those of us blessed enough to have, or have had, fathers in our lives, we should be grateful for the experience.
Oftentimes people say that motherhood is the toughest job. At the risk of making moms across our readership mad, I would argue that Dad’s job is just as tough, but in a much different way.
God made men and women different. We think differently, we feel differently, and we love differently. There’s nothing wrong with a man being a man. No one, especially his wife and children, should expect him to be “just as hard-working” as mom, or as “smart” as mom, or as “compassionate” as mom.
As men, we respond differently to life and everything life throws our way. If mom has a special way of dealing with her children when they get upset or angry, dad has his own way of handling things. I am so sick of hearing about women who browbeat their husbands if he decides to spank one of their children when he or she has it coming.
I’m not talking about child abuse — leaving marks or putting a kid in the hospital. There are always the age and gender factors involved, too. While a five-year-old girl might get a slight spanking for dumping her bowl of cereal on her younger sibling, spanking a girl who is eight or older I think is at that point inappropriate for a spanking from dad. However, I wouldn’t stop any mom from doing so.
The life lessons kids learn from their parents are very important in their formation. These lessons can be taught either by our words, but mainly by our actions.
Most of us as parents like to think we are good parents, if not great ones, and I’m sure most of us do the best to our ability, but sometimes the lessons we teach our kids are not good ones, taught to them by our own negative actions and behaviors.
“Do as I say, not as I do” never works. Kids aren’t stupid. They are sponges ready to soak in as much as they can. Like any sponge, they’ll get to a point where they are no longer able to absorb more, so from the beginning, make sure that what your child absorbs is as positive as realistically possible.
Being a dad is not easy because, in the traditional roles of families, the husband is expected to be the sole breadwinner while mom stays home to raise the kids and home-school them in many cases. Both mom and dad have much of a shared responsibility here.
Let’s say that for whatever reason dad loses his job. In the past, families would rally around an unemployed father, being positive and encouraging him that he is as loved and supported despite this temporary setback.
Today, when a dad loses his job, he is often the target of derision and negative criticism by his frustrated wife who, if she’s working, suddenly takes on the martyr role: “I must support this family because you can’t!”
Weren’t marriage vows about supporting each other “… for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health”? Apparently not anymore. Today’s society and economy do everything they can, directly and indirectly, to try and undermine these traditional roles.
Whether it’s economic conditions which require both mom and dad to work just to pay the bills, or whether a woman refuses to give up a career even when a couple has children, our modern society tells us that tradition is no longer the norm, therefore diminishing in every way the institution of traditional parenthood.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. We have gone from “father knows best” to father is a lazy deadbeat who just wants his “man cave” with his beer and his Sunday football games. This obviously doesn’t apply to all or most couples or families who may be reading this, but it does to some.
Being the perfect dad is impossible. If we want a perfect father, well that’s easy — that’s our Father in Heaven. And let’s not forget the best earthly and saintly example we fathers have in St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.
Every time I see a holy card of St. Joseph holding a saw or a hammer teaching a young Jesus how to be a carpenter, I immediately feel the pangs of guilt, almost grabbing my boys and dragging them to my workbench to build “something.”
This is my crazy thinking and an unrealistic expectation of myself to be “exactly” like St. Joseph. First, I am not handy with tools beyond simple household repairs. Second, my boys would rather be doing something else than having dad “teach” them about things dad hardly knows anything about. Like I said, kids aren’t stupid.
Can they act stupid? Sure, but so can fathers. The Lord knows that I’ve had my share of bad and stupid moments in front of my children and for that I am quite sorry — but I’ll keep trying to be the best dad until the day I die.
I pray that all fathers everywhere, living and dead, know that their work here on Earth was a special gift and responsibility given to us by God because He loves us and He trusted us with His children.
Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere!

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(Rey Flores is the proud father of six terrific children. Contact Rey at reyfloresusa@gmail.com.)

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