This...is not my favorite day. My dad is gone, as are both of my grandfathers. We've never spent Father's Day weekend with Austin's dad, but we try to remember to send a card (Allen, they're in the mail, I promise). I try to make sure that Austin has a good day, but he's not all that into making a big deal of things unless I tell him to, so he's content with a quiet weekend. We spent this weekend at the splash pad, eating Chili's (his favorite), and going to see a movie. He got some cards we all forgot to sign (so we can give them to him next year!) and two ties and I remembered to get the kids to write and draw in his notebook. I even gave him the last 1/3 of my molten chocolate lava cake from Chili's, prompting him to say "this is the best day ever!" I questioned that yesterday was a better day than the day he proposed or the day we got married or THE DAYS HIS CHILDREN WERE BORN. Apparently 1.5 chocolate lava cakes in one day is pretty hard to beat.
When my dad died, Mom gave each of us something of his. My brother John got a Father's Devotional book of some kind and when he flipped through it, he found a list of ten things a dad should do. I have a scanned pdf of it, but I don't know how to convert to a jpg, so I'll just transcribe it below. I'm not sure if he came up with it himself or if it’s part of the devotional book, but these were words he lived by and I think it made him an excellent father....but then I might be biased.
Top 10 Things a Dad Ought to Do:
10. Hug her & Hug her to the very end. Be crazy in love with your wife. Your children will follow your example. - Eccl 9:9
9. Leave the back door open and the light on. A lifelong commitment to being a dad. Be sure they are welcome home. - Luke 15:20
8. Cry when you leave home. Don't be afraid to show your emotions. - Gen 45:1,2; 46
7. Teach your kids to work hard. Lead by example. II Thess 3:10
6. Marry off your kids many times. Be actively concerned about your kids' future spouses, no matter what age. - Gen 24:3
5. Never be too busy for your kids. Let your children interrupt. (BBC dad anyone?)
4. Be a man of your word. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
3. Treat your family as if the preacher was there. Be a true man of God, and practice holiness at home. - Eph 5:4
2. Build your wife a phone book holder. Fill your life with loving deeds. - 1 John 3:18
1. Wear a cowboy hat. Be yourself within God’s freedom.
I think those are the references. Some are hard to read on the pdf. I feel like Dad managed to exemplify these traits.
Dad liked chocolate a lot, but I think he would have rated his children higher than two pieces of cake in one day. He loved us and our spouses and our children tremendously. More than that, though, he loved our mom. He made sure we saw that in a lot of little things he did for her, the courtesies he extended to her, the affection he felt for her. It was so much a part of our daily lives, I can't think of many specific examples other than him squeezing oranges for fresh orange juice for her periodically. He wrote her some pretty mushy letters when they were dating and engaged and some sappy (though not too terrible) poetry after they were married.
That was a good thing for a father to do. It gave all of us an example of what to look for and be in the future. He may not have consciously done it thinking about the example he was setting, but just because hey, he loved this woman he'd married and had all these kids with and why WOULDN'T he want to show her how he felt about her? That is the best example, the one where it's not a pre-planned thing, just a natural, instinctual part of life.
So to all the dads in my life, raising your own children, raising someone else's, stepping in to help out adults who aren't your kids but are kids to someone you love, doing it with a partner or doing it alone, Happy Father's Day. It’s a pretty thankless job sometimes, so I'll say it today: Thank you for loving us, your wives and the mothers of your children and your children. Have a neck tie and a beverage of your choice. And maybe a piece of chocolate lava cake. Or two.