I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, “You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.” And I said, “But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!” And he said, “Yeah, but I know it’s there.” So … I did good work. — Toni Morrison
This Father’s Day I want to recognize the kind, patient, sensitive, and caring men who serve as father figures and role models in our children’s lives. They are uncles, teachers, caregivers, cooks, drivers, security guards, and coaches. They are there every day in every way. They gently guide our children through their days, offering advice and wisdom – giving our children a model of what and how they can grow up to be … — Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow
My mother and father were always pushing me away from secondhand answers—even the answers they themselves believed. I don’t know that I have ever found any satisfactory answers of my own. But every time I ask it, the question is refined. That is the best of what the old heads meant when they spoke of being “politically conscious”—as much a series of actions as a state of being, a constant questioning, questioning as ritual, questioning as exploration rather than the search for certainty. ― Ta-Nehisi Coates
For a New Father (excerpt) — John O’Donohue
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your … child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life …
… You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.
… May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving, clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on your ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.
Songs about or from fathers:
- My Father’s Eyes by Eric Clapton (rock)
- Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant (Christian)
- Glory by Jay-Z (rap)
- Father and Son by Cat Stevens (ballad)
- Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (ballad)
- Song for Dad by Keith Urban (country)
- Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle (country)
- My Father’s House by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- The Greatest Man I Ever Knew by Reba McIntyre (country)
- In the Living Years by Mike & The Mechanics (ballad)
- Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) by John Lennon
Questions to consider:
- If your image of God comes from a parent, what does that experience of love offer as your relationship with God? Stern and disciplinarian, intimate and affectionate, constant and close, faraway and not present, instructive and patient, quick and restless … how do you know God as met through your connection to your primary relationships: parents or caregivers in your earliest years?
- Does calling God “the Father” help you to connect to Holy Love or is it a barrier? If so, why? What language would help connect you to Godself?
- For whom have you been a role model or mentor, an influencer and changemaker?
- Who has been a father figure or role model in your life?
The Longing and the Love (excerpt) — Brian Lundin
We long for the perfect protection of a father,
for strong arms that encircle us,
hold us tight to a broad chest, a beating heart.
Arms that toss us into the air,
screaming with laughter and a little fear,
even though we know those arms will always catch us.
From the moment we gasp our first breath of air,
we long for the perfect father.
We long for a father who sacrifices,
who lays down his time to play games,
read our favorite book one more time,
or take a long walk and listen.
Who reaches into his pocket and pulls out a dollar for ice cream.
Who reaches deeper to provide a good home, good food, and good gifts.
We long for a father who always protects,
always cheers, and always sacrifices.
Some of us are blessed to find
bits and pieces of these longings met in human form,
Like sun through stained glass—a brilliant picture,
illuminated by our Father who satisfies these longings.
We thank God for fathers who protect,
who encourage with strong words, and strong convictions,
fathers willing to sacrifice, striving to love.
But some of us are grieving.
Grieving the loss of a good father, or the lack of one.
Some never knew their father’s arms,
and some bear scars, on skin and soul,
dealt from a father’s swinging arms.
At some point, all of us are left longing.
No human father can perfectly satisfy.
Look up and know your Father in Heaven gave you these longings,
and only He can … fulfill them …
We celebrate our fathers on earth, and our Father in heaven.
We give thanks for the longing, and give thanks for the love.
Fathers as Role Models & Influencers
She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father. — Harper Lee
Lately all my friends are worried they’re turning into their fathers. I’m worried I’m not. — Dan Zevin
It’s only when you grow up and step back from him—or leave him for your own home—it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. — Margaret Truman
I’ve said it before, but it’s absolutely true: My mother gave me my drive, but my father gave me my dreams. Thanks to him, I could see a future. — Liza Minnelli
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me. — Jim Volvano
A father carries pictures where his money used to be. — Steve Martin
Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. — Wade Boggs
I love my father as the stars—he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. — Terri Guillemets
A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men. — Gregory Lang
Extraordinariness of Daily Acts: Just Showing Up
My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it. — Clarence Budington Kelland
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers … and singers of song. — Pam Brown
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Billy Graham
I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom. — Umberto Eco
When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape. — Dave Attell
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. — Ruth Renkel
On Loving Our Children
Baby, I paint the sky blue
My greatest creation was you.
In my career, there’s many things I’ve won and many things I’ve achieved, but for me, my greatest achievement is my children and my family. — David Beckham
When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back. — Linda Poindexter
Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father. — Barack Obama
Prayer — Maya Angelou
Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families and our friends.
For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most—Peace.
All Kinds of Fathers: Honoring the Men in Our Lives
There are many different types of Dads. Father figures come in all shapes and sizes, and being a parent can sometimes lie with a less-traditional role-model. — MensLineAustralia
It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, yes, someone like me can do this. — Sonia Sotomayor
You can honor the day by acknowledging someone who made a difference in your life … — James Van Praagh
Role models set goals for you and try to make you as good as they are. Role models are important. — Kasey Zacharias
My role model didn’t tell me, he showed me. — Unattributed
By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others, you create more of what you want in your life. — Eric Allenbaugh
Be the flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country. — Michelle Obama
We tend to become like those we admire. — Thomas Monson
Children need role models rather than critics. — Joseph Joubert
A role model can teach you to love and respect yourself. — Tionne Watkins
To change bad habits we must study the habits of successful role models. — Jack Canfield
As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow. —Himanshu Bhatia
God / Holy Love as Parent & Creator
… he’s a parent who loves both his children more than anyone can measure. And that’s when counting breaks down. When you love so much there is no scale adequate to calculate your devotion. The elder son, he counts, and you can hear his ill-fated … But the … father – doesn’t. Can’t. Love like this, you see, cannot be measured, tracked, or managed. Which his why I think the cross is not a means of payment but rather shows us just how far our prodigal God will go to tell us of God’s immeasurable love. Period. — David Lose
Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on other’s kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness towards others? — Dalai Lama
The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father. ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Her (Mary’s) Son first had to be the Child of the Father in order then to become man and be capable of taking up on his shoulders the burden of a guilty world. ― Hans Urs von Balthasar
My father always used to say, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” — Desmond Tutu
There is something gratuitous about creation, an unnecessary abundance of beauty, and through its blossoms and pleasures we can revel in the sheer largesse of the Father. ― Michael Reeves
God attaches no strings to His love. None. His love for us does not depend on our loveliness. It goes one way. As far as our sin may extend, the grace of our Father extends further. ― Tullian Tchividjian
Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. ― Richard Rohr
I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. … The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. … God is always waiting for us, He never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!” — Pope Francis
Committing myself to the task of becoming fully human is saving my life now… to become fully human is something extra, a conscious choice that not everyone makes. Based on my limited wisdom and experience, there is more than one way to do this. If I were a Buddhist, I might do it by taking the bodhisattva vow, and if I were a Jew, I might do it by following Torah. Because I am a Christian, I do it by imitating Christ, although i will be the first to admit that I want to stop about a day short of following him all the way. In Luke’s gospel, there comes a point when he turns around and says to the large crowd of those trailing after him, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (14:26). Make of that what you will, but I think it was his way of telling them to go home. He did not need people to go to Jerusalem to die with him. He needed people to go back where they came from and live the kinds of lives that he had risked his own life to show them: lives of resisting the powers of death, of standing up for the little and the least, of turning cheeks and washing feet, of praying for enemies and loving the unlovable. ― Barbara Brown Taylor
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