Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father’s Day Is Tomorrow. Are You Excited?

I’m not. I have a few reasons. I’m sure I’ll get up and find some cards and presents on the table. I like presents. My wife has a habit of throwing cards out as soon as they’re read, which makes me wonder what the point to them is. I normally keep them, but after a while I start to wonder why. I’m trying to reduce some clutter in my life, and I don’t know what to keep anymore and what to toss.

After that, we’ll go to church. I can’t say that I know for sure what the sermon will be. Steve is preaching (Dr. Steve Sikes- a wonderful man and awesome minister) but I don’t know what the topic will be.

We make a huge deal in our culture about motherhood. Mothers are honored. Fathers, it’s sort of another story. On Mother’s Day, we get sermons about some of the great mothers in the Bible. On Father’s Day, we sometimes get to hear about the fathers who are absent or do a horrible job. Sometimes we don’t even get a sermon about fathers.




I can remember growing up, I would ask my dad “Why do you always get on my butt when I screw up? Why can’t you ever tell me when I do something right?” My dad, who is an Air Force veteran, would always answer “That’s how the world is. Nobody ever notices you unless you screw up.”

Yes, but does that make it right? Is it right only to point out the screw-ups? I’ve NEVER heard a Mother’s Day sermon about crack-moms leaving their crack babies on the sidewalk. That would be wrong. But why on Father’s Day do we have to hear about the dads who are screwing up and have to take it as an admonition to do better?

I sometimes wonder where some of these standards came from. It’s not good enough anymore to bring home an income and not drink and beat the family. Now you have some really high standards to maintain. I can work 12 hour days and be told I’m not spending enough time with the kids. My wife and I fight all the time over whether or not I’m “doing enough with the kids”, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. I love my boys, but there are only so many hours in the day. I have no idea what standard my wife has set for me. She can’t define it, nor can she tell me where she got it from. All I know is that every time the subject of me being a husband and father comes up, I apparently fall short. That is very frustrating. Just give me the standard, and I can keep it. Keep me in the dark about what standard I have to live up to, and we all end up frustrated.

Back to my age-old conversation with my dad, I have no idea what I’m doing right. Nobody will tell me. All I know is if we’re not fighting over me not “doing enough with the kids”, I guess I’m doing it right for now. But invariably, it comes back.

I shouldn’t use my blog to leave this frustrated whine/rant. All I know is, if all Father’s Day is about is “don’t be a failure”, I’d rather drink enough tonight to not remember anything before Monday morning, and stay home from church. Steve, I love you man, but if I hear that sermon illustration about when that phone company set up phones in prisons on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and that the prisoners lined up on Mother’s Day but nobody showed up on Father’s Day, I’m going to sit in my car for the rest of the sermon. I’m tired of hearing it every year.

I’m also tired of men like James Dobson saying that we need to do more for our families. OK, Dr. Dobson, like what? Come on, what? I love my kids. I come home from work every night. I worked my butt off to get a college degree and a decent job so my wife can take care of the kids. We drive paid for cars and don’t live with maxed-out credit cards.

Just once, on Father’s Day, can’t we hear that some of us might actually be doing all right?

Let’s all make a pact. My dad is still around, and I do love him. I think he was wrong about “I won’t tell you when you did good because that’s how the world is.” Let’s make a pact, men, to actually tell people when they do something right. If your children, or your employees or subordinates or wife or anybody in your sphere of influence does a good job, TELL THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve tried to make it a point to tell my wife and my kids when they did something good or well. Apparently, my wife shares my dad’s philosophy, so I don’t tend to hear if I did something right. Let’s drop my dad’s philosophy. Help me to not dread Father’s Day.

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