Saturday, June 15, 2013

fathers


1970's stock family photo
No one I know....  


King David, a man who God Himself said was after His heart, was known as a tolerant father of children who rebelled and did not respect him.  His own beautiful son, Absalom, staged a revolt to overthrow him so fiercely that King David cast off his crown and ran for the hills. Later, when the commander of David’s Army killed Absalom, David cried out: “Absalom! Absalom!  If only it were me instead of you!”

Constantine the Great, a powerful Roman Emporer that conquered and ruled Europe in the fourth century, put to death his own beloved son, Crispus, after learning that he had attempted to rape his new wife, Fausta.  Shortly after his son’s execution, it was revealed to the Constantine that Fausta had made up the charges to dethrone Crispus and secure a future for her own sons.  Constantine killed Fausta as well, leaving him alone with an ocean of regret.

Thomas Boleyn,  the father of Anne and Mary, had an apetite for power so insatiable that he pressured his daughter, Anne, to marry King Henry VIII, even though Henry was already married at the time. Henry was also given Boleyn's elder daughter Mary, as company for the young Anne. Three years after the controversial marriage ruined the lives of many, Anne fell out of favor with the king and was beheaded on charges of high treason. Her brother, George, suffered the same fate. all the while Thomas, did nothing to protect any of his children. 

All of these fathers did this for their children: they loved them, provided for their education, gave them whatever money could buy, and engaged in family banquets with them.  Isn’t that what fathers of today are told to do for their own children? 

None of these fathers were considered good.  Why?  They lacked a simple ingredient in all  Fathers that are the heavies in their homes: they lacked wisdom.

Dads that are popular are usually not the best ones.  Weak Dads aren’t always seen as weak: they are sometimes very popular, pandering to their own kids and their friends by bending all of the rules in the house to suit the child.  They usually play right alongside of their kids, teaching them their own bad habits, living through their own kids’ experiences and manipulating obedience with a lot of money thrown around as incentive.

All of the good Fathers that I have met have a mixture of authority and wisdom that seems boring and a little overbearing.  Some of them have senses of humor, some are affectionate.  Some are jerks.  They lay down the law, set curfews and  kick their kids’ butts when they don’t respect them.  They make unpopular decisions that their kids hate and then act like they don’t care, even if they do.

Good fathers are strong; even in the face of opposition.

Me and my Papa.
I remember my own father, Jack, an Irish Catholic no-nonsense man I respected and feared. He made so many mistakes, but he led me.  He led all five of us, which was no easy feat.   I had long periods of rebellion but he stayed the course.  I remember thinking of him as unbending and unyielding and he actually wasn’t.  He was just firm.

I think of Mario, my warm-hearted, Teddy Bear of a husband who could instantly become a Grizzly when it came to reining in our own kids, especially the boys.  Our daughter charmed him a little more than the boys did, but even then…he was strong; the rock we all needed.  Because of Mario's provision, we lived in a house, paid our bills and had enough money to take our kids on vacation somewhere nice every year. 

1993

didn't always agree with Mario's parenting decisions.  Many times, I thought he was being too tough on the kids.  I thought his decisions seemed so harsh and final, even when it seemed like they weren't working.  In the end, he was the Father.  He was, I have realized, the backbone of our family.

Today is Father’s Day.  It is the day that I remember my own Dad, Jack – and my husband Mario.  Two incredible Fathers, despite their humanity.  These men are golden columns in my life: pillars of wisdom and truth.

They were the ones that made all of the unpopular decisions that ended up being just as they said: for the best.


Thank You.