Written by Alina Sopt
Father’s Day was officially made an international celebration on June 19, 1910 as a complement to the infamous and beloved Mother’s Day. It was created for the purpose of honoring the hard work fathers do for their families, and for paying respect to fatherly figures that influence children and teens alike when a father is absent.
Dads do a lot. When they are not busy „losing” races and „losing” at cards, they take on the job of being responsible for the whole family’s well-being. Aside from high-stress jobs that fathers take for income, they also have the job of influencing their children and teaching them rights from wrongs. For example, fathers teach their sons by example on how to treat their future wife when he holds the door open for her and/or goes out of his way for her. Fathers also teach their daughters by example when they draw the line between submitting vs. taking a stand. Fathers teach their children through patience and love when they correct them from mistakes or give priceless advice for their future. They sometimes answer a prodigal son with irritating riddles of wisdom or a runaway princess with unfathomable compassion for her down-spiraling life. No matter where you are or what age you are, dad will be there with strict but loving support. Where the mother is the comforter in the family a father is the mentor and counselor to his children.
With the decline of traditions and the „traditional” family, some fathers have gone missing from their parental job, which is why we must also pay respect to the men who step out of their way to be a fatherly figure to those who are missing a father. Fatherly figures (such as pastors, uncles, neighborhood mentors, etc.), are just as important as a father in a child’s development. When a child is missing a male to look up to they often turn to fault-filled older male friends or even gangs for the acceptance and mentoring they are missing. So, good fatherly figures must be honored and appreciated for the free and priceless mentoring they give to such father-starved children.
A quote from Courageous by Alex and Stephen Kendrick really sums up what an impact a father [or fatherly figure] really makes: “You know, if fathers [or fatherly figures] just did what they’re supposed to do, half of the junk [gang violence, drug abuse, prostitution, etc.] that we face [as cops] on the streets wouldn’t exist.” Yes, fathers do the mundane chores at home and relax with their family to watch some cartoons or sports, but behind the mundane, they are simply there. Being there to talk to and be with makes the difference to a maturing boy or girl. As fathers, they may not be Superman or do the exciting things in life like their single buddies, but they are Superman to their family. Research shows that: Fatherless boys and girls are, twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; and four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. [US D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999]. Likewise, 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]. The statistics are quite dumbfounding, but they show us the importance of dad being there and being able to talk to. As mentioned before, dads are the mentor and counselor to their children. A missing mentor creates large room for mistakes and their terrible consequences.
I have an awesome dad. His job has been fixing cars since the moment I took my first breath, and I even remember being a terrified little toddler when I saw wrecked and totaled cars. But my dad has made a huge difference in my life. Without my dad there to teach me to toughen up and try anything as long as I liked it, I would not be stepping out of my comfort zones and writing articles. He has been there in my darkest hours while on chemotherapy and in my easy hours, when I would not stop complaining about how bored I was. Although I may not always agree with what he teaches me all of the time, I know that he only wants the best for me, and through some God-given gift of being a father, he sees way into the future and spots red flags way before I can even consider the threats. My mom has done just the same and has taught me how to be a young woman with manners and reverence towards everyone. They have worked and still work as a team in order to help me be ready for life and what it throws at me in the future.
Another father we can honor on Father’s Day is none other than our Heavenly Father, whom, just like most earthly fathers and fatherly figures has only good plans and a wonderful future in mind for us. Although we can never understand how his ways are in the difficult times, we should trust him because he will always be there, and he works „behind the scenes” in ways we can’t see or understand until the time is right. His affection and care for us are a river that constantly flows when we open our eyes to actually see it.
Fathers can either make or break the next generation depending on how responsible they are for their family. Fatherly figures are just as important in counteracting the declining number of responsible biological fathers; they are changing the world one child at a time through teaching right from wrong. Men in general have such a gift from the Father—that is the chance of being a role model to those little eyes that catch everything they do. But the Father of us all has granted men the wisdom to impact the world by beginning right at home. To all the fathers, fatherly figures, and men in general—happy Father’s Day! You all make the difference to the next generation, and if you are ever feeling worn out from your duties, just look up to your father and the Father, and they will give you strength and courage. Keep changing the world!