This weekend (20 June 2021), we celebrate Father’s Day with the Full Movement Controlled Order (15-28 June 2021) still in effect. This will be the second year in a row that we celebrate Father’s Day on a smaller scale, due to the pandemic. Father’s Day was inaugurated in the early 20th Century to complement Mother’s Day. On this day we honour all fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and spiritual fathers, as well. They have greatly influenced individuals, families and society.
When I was growing up with my four siblings, my father was very much concerned about our studies. Entertainment, in any form, was not allowed. In fact, we didn’t even have a television set at home till the early 1980s! My father was so strict in disciplining us and I was often whacked with a stick for causing a ruckus. As I look back today, I appreciate the fact that my father paid so much attention to my personal growth and studies. Today, I thank him for relentlessly disciplining me, and ensuring that I was properly educated in academics, morals and faith.
Very often, fathers are seen to be strong and unemotional men. However, they are the pillars of our family and we must appreciate them for their silent commitment and dedication to their families, especially to their children. I am very sure that every one of us has memorable stories of our childhood, and of our respective father’s teaching us the importance of prayer, mutual respect, honesty, integrity, forgiveness and placing God in the centre of our lives. We all want and need good fathers to provide unconditional love and care, and to ensure that the basic necessities of our lives are met.
Fathers who are stern and strict are not necessarily bad fathers. Their methods may be a little outdated in these modern times, but we must appreciate that they too want the best for their children – raising them on a foundation of discipline and respect, to listen and to obey with love, instead of fear. Self-discipline and respect for others are makings of a good and upstanding person.
We have God, the Father – who is loving, kind, generous and approachable – and all earthly fathers should be like Him, in order to build healthy relationships with their children. Fathers need to encourage and motivate their children in their education, including religious and moral studies. They should also express their unconditional love and care to their children, freely and without hesitation.
Fathers, you are chosen to be the head of your household and spiritual leaders of your family. It is your responsibility to educate and teach your children, and to help them grow psychologically, emotionally, morally and spiritually. In the Bible, Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel and he proclaimed with one voice, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). In the midst of all kinds of challenges in our lives, fathers are entrusted to ensure that their home honours Jesus Christ, as the Head of families.
Happy Father’s Day! Be courageous, supportive and loving to your children!
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy