Fathers and mothers deserve to be honored on more than one day per year. After all, the fourth commandment (Honor thy father and mother) implies that we should honor them always.
(this video series splits the first commandment into two; that’s why it’s called number 5 here)
It wasn’t until the birth of my first child that I began to understand the heroic nature of fatherhood. Heroic because it wasn’t until I held my newborn son in my arms that I came to the realization: It wasn’t about ME, anymore. My actions from here until the end had to be oriented towards the well-being of my children and family. It is an easy burden to bear but a burden nonetheless. At certain times, I realized that I had to make the same decisions that my father (and his father) had to make. At those moments I would say to myself, “ya know, my old man wasn’t such a fool after all!” Sorry, dad, for not always honoring you as I should’ve.
I haven’t always been an exemplary dad. I can recall numerous times when I was not the model father I should’ve been. Words best left unsaid, arrogance, petulance, anger, these were some of my sins. I’m sure that if you asked my kids, they could come up with a long list of other fatherly sins. But, in spite of my poor parenting skills, my kids have become mature, hard-working men and women of good and virtuous character. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve inherited their dad’s devastating good-looks! They are a blessing to me, our family, our community, and the world. Thank you Lord for not visiting my failings and shortcomings upon them and may the Word always illuminate their path.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”(Proverbs 22:6)
While we’re on the subject of heroics, I want to mention two heroic men: my father-in-law and my uncle-in-law (heretofore to be known only as Ganga and Bobo). These two men, along with thousands of other men and women who escaped from the gulag of Castro’s Cuba are the real heros. These men were forced out of their businesses and careers and had to abandon their homeland and bring their families to a strange country to start over. It takes a special breed of man to accomplish this without bitterness. Imagine driving one day with your family and a band of soldiers stops your car and orders you to leave it because that car now belongs to “the people”. Or, showing up to your business one morning only to find soldiers there waiting for you to give them the keys to the establishment because it now belongs to “the people.” To make matters worse, the majority of these soldiers were people you’ve known your entire life! It must’ve been hard not to give in to the understandable rage and lash out at these injustices but, you knew that if you did, your families would suffer and escape into exile would’ve been impossible. When you petitioned to government to leave, you were force to endure a period of abuse and torture. Your family was divided: sons to one forced labor camp, daughters to another, husbands to another, wives to yet another. While you toiled in these prison labor camps, you had no knowledge of what was happening to your wives and children. But you knew that if you, or any one of your family, protested, your leave request would be denied.
It takes a special caliber of man to swallow his pride and endure. This is true heroism.
Today, let us raise our glassed and toast their heroism. This one’s for you, Ganga & Bobo.
Here is Horace Silver’s “Song for my Father”. Enjoy!