I tend to be one of those people who resists the “Hallmarkization” of annual celebrations. Father’s Day is one example (but one ignores at one’s own peril Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.)
Taken too far, that attitude is a mistake, though. Take Father’s Day. For one, the holiday, which we celebrate June 19 this year, serves as a salutary reminder that our faith calls us to honor our parents.
“Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you” (Ex 20:12).
But for us fathers, Father’s Day also is an opportunity for a little self-examination. Being a good father, especially in a day and age when the model of good fatherhood is so foreign to the broader culture, takes conscious, regular work. I find it too easy to disengage and limit interaction with my four children mostly to one of correction, and I spend far too little time in active formation, encouragement and building up.
So along with the celebration and breakfast in bed, Father’s Day is a reminder of our privilege and responsibility — and a summons to do even better.
Our Sunday Visitor printed a pamphlet a couple of years ago by Cory Busse on 10 ways to be a great Catholic dad.
Here’s his list:
1. Keep Holy the Lord’s Day ... and All Those Other Days (Ex 20:8). Do our children know that Mass is the center of our lives?
2. Teach Your Children Faith (Jn 20:29). Do they not only hear us talk about the faith, but also model prayerful and confident trust in God?
3. Don’t Forget Forgiveness (Mt 18:21-22). Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity; do we practice it, and model for our kids the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
4. Give and Let Give (Prv 28:27). Do we teach (and show) them the importance of generosity and service?
5. Play and Have Fun (Lk 18:16-17). Joy is the hallmark of a Christian; do our kids see that in us?
6. Get Caught Praying (Luke 11:1). Without daily prayer and conversation with God, we are dead. Do our kids see us pray, and do we initiate family prayer?
7. Be “Mr. Doesn’t-Know-It-All” (Ps 139:5-7). Do we foster an attitude of curiosity and search for truth?
8. Might for Right (2 Cor 13:7-8). Do we model integrity?
9. Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine (Mt 5:14-16). Do we help our kids find their talents and do we encourage them to develop them?
10. Traditionnnnn! Tradition!” (1 Cor 11:2). Do we take our Catholic identity seriously and pass on to our children important rituals and “language” of their faith?
If I were to add to this list, I’d probably include, Do your children see you modeling toward your wife patient love, forgiveness, service and initiative?
What would you add? Write firstname.lastname@example.org.