This day of recognition was celebrated as far back as one can tell on March 19, starting around 1508. Many nations celebrate fathers at some time or other during the year. The US didn’t really come into full swing with it till the 20th century to compliment Mother’s Day. So. It’s a “one up” tradition. Moms get something why not dads?
Throughout history I have taken it into consideration that there are many fathers who are good, generous and loving men who nurtured children into adulthood. Same for mothers.
Bibilically, without fathers the family is like a body walking around without a head. I cheer on a woman who takes on the task of raising children in the absence of a man. It is a monumental task to fill both rolls. But the woman cannot dole out the influence of a man. Mothers mother. Fathers father.
Well, enough of that. If someone wants to think otherwise, it’s your prerogative. But you can’t change nature to suit the thought processes that seem to dominate the world today.
An example of mothering in my own mom showed me she tried to fill in the gaps for the way my dad treated me. I am the first born of five boys. My granddad took a shine to me and I to him. We got along marvelously. Then he died when I was seven. By this time my second brother was three and had been a medical study at Duke University because of the newness of cleft palate repair. My dad was over-protective of him and naturally took to him as his favorite.
I’ve made the statement that I was the family farm hand. At the age of seven my dad put me on a small farm tractor and from there I was tending over thirteen acres of beans by my early teens. I plowed ground, fed hogs, chickens, chopped wood, pulled weeds. You name it that was my job. I shucked a lot of corn and then ran it through a hand-cranked sheller. When I was 13 I was driving errands locally in our car or pickup truck and eventually got caught by the local highway patrol for driving without a license and my mom cussed him out for stopping me.
Not only did I work the farm, I cleaned house, made beds, washed dishes and hung clothes out to dry on the line outside. Even took them in off the line in the dead of winter when the clothes were frozen on the line.
I worked hard from the time I was able. Even when my dad gave up farming I worked for some other farmer for money to buy my own school clothes. I was having Social Security taken out of my paycheck as early as 16 years old as a farm hand.
Did you notice? My dad never developed a relationship with me. What I learned I had to pick up from what I observed around me. He was in the home, but I was not talked to unless it was instructions of something he wanted me to do. Rare were the times he’d get out in the yard and hit a baseball to my brothers and me. I was just one of the three others at the time. The fifth brother was born after I graduated from high school.
The thing about my dad that made me who I am is that anything I ever did was about a fraction of an inch from what he wanted done. I worked harder than anyone else, but always came up just a fraction short. I was in my late 30’s when I got past that.
I knew I was called to the ministry at the young age of 13 and I knew I’d preach, but I’ve found my truest calling is writing. My mom was a writer. My English Lit teacher encouraged me to write. So I’ve been writing since I was in high school.
It was during my late 20’s when I answered the call of God to fulfill what I was called to do. During that time God spoke to me about my dad. He, too, had been called but failed to answer it. One day after I had ridden with my dad out into the fields we parked in the yard. He turned off the motor in the truck as I turned to him and asked the most important question I’ve ever asked of him. His Cherokee dark skin turned pale when I asked if he was called to the ministry. He looked at me and said he’d been, but he’d never even told my mom. I felt sorry for him from then on, because he had the audacity to tell me I’d be dead by 60. I wasn’t buying his story. Not answering God is a life-shortening decision. His dad and his granddad apparently ran the same course. All three died in their late 50’s, although I can say dad made it to 60, but died two months later.
I knew answering God’s call was the key to longevity. I’ll be 69 years old in October of this year and I still can pass a DOT physical for my CDL B and ride a motorcycle. I head up a ministry that mows lawns for free for people who have not the means to do so. My wife and I are going to Kentucky next month to distribute food, clothing and supplies to extremely poor folk in Kentucky. Then I’m flying out to California from here in NC see my eldest son who hasn’t spoken to me since his mom and I split ten years ago. All this I give God the credit and glory for being alive and having a wife now who loves and nurtures me, as I do the same for her.
As dads go, mine on a grading scale would get a D at best. All I got out of growing up was a work ethic that is second to none. That because I still feel I need to go beyond the call, but now because I want to. Not because I’m told I don’t quite make the grade.