The mixed bag that is Father’s Day

Posted on · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Everyone has a father. That much is obvious. The problem comes when Father’s Day becomes a one-size-fits-all event. Everyone has a different life-experience regarding having a father, being a father or not being a father.

Many are blown away by the faithful sacrifice of their dads. Sadly, many are also devastated by the selfishness of fathers. There are men who are thrilled with the joy of being a father. There are others who are not. There are still others who long to be fathers but are not. There are fathers who are deeply appreciated and just as deeply despised. There are those who continue to enjoy their father’s company but there are others who left with only a collection of memories.

Fatherhood brings out the best and the worst of the human spirit. Just as there are fathers who have sacrificed everything for their children, there are also those who have sacrificed only for themselves. Since leadership is one of a father’s primary responsibilities families are blessed or damaged by how well leadership is executed by each dad.

Father’s Day is a day of great enjoyment, profound sadness, painful memories, happy memories or even indifference, all rolled into one. This is the problem with days that celebrate human relationships. They are a mixed bag. Those who joyfully celebrate Father’s Day should have compassion for those cannot. It is vital to remember that apart from the work of Christ there would be no good fathers or mothers.

By focusing on human failings, the divine establishment of marriage and parenthood is pushed to the background. It is God’s specific design that there are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. No one becomes a good father on his own. Only God defines what is a good father.

Whether your father brings good thoughts, bad thoughts or a mixture of each, there is always the wonder that God is our father, our hope, and our model for fatherhood.

For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. (Ephesians 3:14-15)


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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.