Both the dad and the children will be happy on this day if the dad is functioning as an exemplary dad. That takes more than genes. It takes a medley of such traits as character, patience, time, love, understanding and communication skills.
The dividends are incalculable. A well-adjusted, mannerly child with character is a contented person and the crowning joy of a parent.
Lamentably, 40 percent of the children in America will go to bed tonight in a home where their biological father does not live. What more than 25 million youth will learn about fatherhood, they will learn from TV. The result is more than 70 percent of juvenile felons have no father figure in their lives.
I asked the head football coach of a Division I school if he found in recruiting many young men were being reared by their mother alone.
He replied yes, but added that many are reared by their grandmothers.
Those absentee dads, in forfeiting their responsibility, have lost the pleasurable good fortune inherent in functioning as a responsible dad.
From antiquity can be heard the voice of the prophet Malachi, saying: “Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.” (3:17)
A group called Heritage Family Builders has compiled an acrostic that defines some things needed to be passed on by dads.
“Affection.” If “love” is the noun, “affection” is the verb.
Affection isn’t an emotion, it is an act of the will.
When the true value of a person is realized, respect results. I sat with a grieving husband as his beloved wife slipped into the arms of her Heavenly Father.
A friend standing by sought to console him by saying, “You would have no grief if she were not of value to you.”
Respect is taught by showing it.
“Order.” Order is the act of managing and modeling leadership. It results in a refuge of calm.
Children prosper in an environment of creative freedom with well-defined boundaries.
“Merriment.” Dad, here is the question of the day. Are you fun with which to live?
Merriment is a positive environment of enthusiasm coupled with uninhibited joy and happiness.
Laughter does good like a medicine.
Don’t be too serious. Learn to laugh at yourself and with your children.
“Affirmation.” All children have the right to be reared in an affirming environment that helps them develop their potential.
Affirmation is a big part of edification. Now there is a word not in the working vocabulary of all persons. In it can be heard the root “edifice.” An edifice is a building. To edify is to build up a person. In our scary world, children need to be edified at home.
Tragically, many dads have difficulty showing simple affection. The result is worth the effort of cultivating the capacity to the point it becomes reflexive.
These traits give a home a sweet AROMA and make for a Happy Father’s Day!
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.