Happy Father’s Day
“A real man loves his wife and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father”, (Frank Abagnale).
The idea of Father’s Day first came to Mrs. John Dodd as she sat listening to a mother’s day sermon in 1909. Her father William Smart had raised his six children alone on his farm in Washington after his wife died giving birth to the sixth child. Mrs. Dodd proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) that they celebrate a “Father’s Day”.
She chose June 5, because it was her father’s birthday, but the good ministers of Spokane asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of father’s and incidentally third Sunday in the month of June was chosen to celebrate it every year. Accordingly, Father’s Day celebration was now first observed in Washington in 1910 then South African, Britain, among others.
However, it is good we add that in 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that Father’s Day be celebrated yearly on the third Sunday in June. Interestingly, this year’s celebration fell today, June 19 and is being celebrated in the Anglican Church world over. At this celebration, it is in honour of our father’s, therefore, their wives and children are to accord them such honour and respect, as they deserve. This, they are to follow up by giving them such gifts as cards or flowers, or clothing or sporting equipment or luxury food items, among others.
Let it be noted that such care and love from their wives and children will go a long way in elongating their lives because they feel that people around them really care for them. But where contrary is the case particularly from their children whom they make a lot of sacrifices for we can share their pain like that found in William Shakespeare’s King Lear: “How sharper than a serpents tooth it is to have a thankless child”. Any child who on today’s occasion will not make time to appreciate his/her father will likely make him unhappy and invariably contribute to the shorting of his father’s life. Remember, a man at Washington was able to raise a lone six children on the farm as part of his contribution for the well being of the family. This is why children must make time to remember their father figures today. Really, there are such fathers who have made and are still making more sacrifices for their children and their homes because it is in their portfolio to do so. Yes, unless you look round and very deep too you may never discover such people although heaven may be aware of them and their enormous contributions. However, for the fathers who have gone to be with the Lord like the writers father, but played their roles well while alive, may their souls continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen!
Indeed, as we celebrate our fathers today, it is also good we place a note of caution because necessarily there are some fathers who are not living to the bidding of their responsibility. Often times, such fathers may glory more in keeping of mistresses, drinking and rabble rousing type of life to the detriment of their families. Of course, we have cases of broken homes dotted all over the places. But should it be so? However, the time in which we are in does not give room for irresponsible living.
Every father must take to heart the Biblical warning that says: “but if any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”, (1 Tim. 5:8). It, therefore, behooves all our fathers to step up their love and care for the family so that on an occasion such as father’s day today their wives and children unashamedly will celebrate them. Benjamin Franklin American (1706-1790) noted thus about a father: “he is a treasure, a brother, a comfort, a friend and is both”. Necessarily, a father should be a shoulder upon which every member of the family should cry upon. We, therefore, sincerely pray that our fathers will live out that for which God purposed for them. Happy father’s celebration!!!
• Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International EcumenicalCentre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.