Fathers here on earth are given the opportunity to understand just how much our heavenly father loves us, by loving their children, being involved in their lives and watching them grow. Since last Sunday was Father’s Day, I asked my husband if he would write about being a dad/father. Hope you all have a blessed week! –Melanie
Summer is upon us. The days are full of great Iowa sunshine lasting until past the kids’ bedtime. And since school is out for the summer there is lots of time to play baseball, soccer, tag, or whatever else the boys come up with out in the yard. In other words, it’s a great time to be a dad. Well, it’s always great to be a dad, but summer is a special time for me. As a kid, summer was filled with time with my dad that provided great memories: fishing, playing catch, camping and going to professional baseball games. So now, as a father, I try to take advantage of the sunshine to make memories with my own kids.
I have a confession to make. Being a husband isn’t something that came easily to me. Although, I may be getting better because Melanie did get me a Father’s Day card that said, “Men like you are hard to find…now that you’re trained and all!” Seriously though, it took me a long time to find my stride as a husband, and I’m still working on it. I didn’t understand that “checking in,” like my parents made me do, was merely a courtesy and not an encore of being parented. Thankfully I have a loving and very patient wife. It’s OK ladies, you can laugh — I know you’ve been there. Guys, you know exactly what I’m talking about and how well that worked out for each of us.
Being a dad however, is something that came more naturally; I didn’t really have to work at it. I even changed poopy diapers. Of course, there has been work involved with parenting — teaching the boys manners, how to treat a lady, and that temper tantrums aren’t the answer (we’re still working on that one). Being a dad, on the other hand, is the way you show your love for your children. It’s sitting in the chair and reading, taking the extra moment to listen to their stories, being patient while teaching them something, and drinking 30 cups of imaginary tea.
It’s this love that captivates us from the first wail our children make, in them learning to crawl and walk, read and write, and all of the other milestones we dads get to enjoy. It’s this same love, the love of a father, which God has for each of us. And like us, God wants the best for his children; he cares for us, guides us and listens to us. He knows us. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)
Being a father is a special blessing and we fathers should recognize the importance of the title “father.” As Catholics we call our priests Father, as Christians we call God our Father. A father provides counsel, perspective, empathy and love. Being a father is a great responsibility, but it is also a great reward. After all, being a father is one heck of a good time and an endless source of laughter. It is my prayer that all parents, but especially fathers, are able to know and love their children in the way God knows and loves us.
Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.