Sunday, 2 September 2012

Resolutions: Being fatherly on the Father's Day

Although the consumerism of our day has hijacked most of its meaning and our letterboxes and inboxes are full of junk trying to get us buy stuff "for our fathers", the Father's Day is still a helpful reminder for all of us to express our appreciation for fathers and honour them for being one. Unfortunately, for many people in our society, this Father's Day would bring back painful memories and invoke sadness or anger for their abusiveness or absence.

This got me thinking, how should I celebrate my Father's Day? As a father myself now, my first impulse was "what can I get?" Tragic. I know. But I wonder how many of my fellow Australian fathers think the same thing. A new tool, gadget, toy, or a dvd set? A new shaver, perfume, tie, shirt, shoes, or even socks? A nice meal, beers, wines, or even whiskey? How about just a lazy day when I don't have to care about vacuuming or dishwashing, kids, or my personal hygiene? Whatever it is, my point is that it is so very easy for any of us to think self-centred.

There is nothing wrong for my kid (well, when he grows up a bit more) to buy nice gifts for me, and even now, it's nice and even heart-warming when my wife cares to let me enjoy the Father's Day and shows her approval of me as a father to our child. But, as a father myself, there's something insidious about focussing my thoughts on "what I can get this Father's Day." I don't know, maybe I'm just too much of a beginner as a father and haven't learned to forget about myself and serve my family more selflessly, self-forgetfully, even on a Father's Day.

But if my suspicion on our day's culture and society is correct, many of the fathers in Australia tend to think that we deserve to be treated with gifts, ease, carelessness, and time for ourselves, at least on this Day. Perhaps it is precisely what's needed for some fathers. I doubt it to be the case for most fathers. It certainly isn't the case for me.

I don't want to be like that. I don't want to think that I somehow "deserve" gifts, extra laziness, or the whole day for myself by myself, especially on THIS DAY.

I am probably not the worst father on earth, but I know I am not the best father I want to be, and I am beginning to understand the kind of fatherhood my heavenly Father has called me to is far greater, weightier, and higher than I knew before. I don't want to give wrong impressions that the fathers need to be a kind of superman who can and does all things right. I don't believe that's a biblical picture of a good father, unless you are the Heavenly Father. I just want to be a father who models after the Heavenly Father. And even though I myself will stumble and fall, my hope is that my stumbling and falling as well as my victories will, without ambiguity, show my child the grace of Jesus.

That's why I am making these resolutions.
I will not use the Father's Day as my excuse to be a worse father for 24 hours.
I will not make it my ambition to be a couch potato on the Father's Day.
I will not imagine that I somehow "deserve" gifts from my family members on a Father's Day.
Instead, on the Father's Day, I will meditate on God's relationship with me and His character as my Heavenly Father.
And I will do one thing that will help improve my character and self-control.
And I will think how I can serve my family better as a father.
And I will do one thing that will strengthen relationships within my family.

In short, by God's grace, I will be the best father I can be especially on the Father's Day.

(Photo credit: Hammonton Photography)

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