|What Father's Day means to me|
|June 16, 2011 Pastor Mike Mead|
*All Bible quotes are taken from the NASB*
It’s Fathers Day; a day that has been set aside to honor the fathers of our society. Several people have been credited with inventing this day. It was first observed in 1908 in West Virginia, organized by a woman named Grace Clayton. It was overshadowed by other events in her city that year and was forgotten.
Sonora Dodd is credited with organizing a celebration in honor of her father in 1910. Both women wanted to complement the celebration of Mothers Day. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. It has been observed as a permanent National Holiday since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into Law.
Even though Fathers Day is not a religious holiday, the Bible has some advice for fathers. In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, God tells the Israelites, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
God is telling fathers to be ready to teach your kids all the time. He is telling us to set a good example by living out, day to day, what is right.
Specifically here, He is talking about teaching the truths of God. Overall, it’s about living an example that our children can follow.
Next, there is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Many fathers have misunderstood this verse. We have taken it to mean that we drive our kids so that they will stay on the straight and narrow when they are teens, and they will never give us any trouble. We tend to couple this verse with one that is not in the Bible, “spare the rod and spoil the child”, and we wonder why we drive them from us instead of helping them to walk alongside us. The idea is to bring them up in such a way as to be able to slowly release them to the adult world when they will be able to function in a way that is pleasing to both God and man.
Of course my children’s favorite Bible verse, for me, is Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Actually, I like this verse also. Don’t make your kids angry, but train them and instruct them in the Lord. I have failed over the years at the “Don’t make your kids angry” part of this verse.
Sometimes, they have gotten angry because I had to put my foot down about something. Sometimes, they have gotten angry because I was a jerk. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. I may have been trying to teach the right concept, just with the wrong motive.
This year, Fathers’ Day has a different feel for me. My twins graduated and now I have to deal with the reality that my role as father is changing. No longer am I the lone “go to guy.” As hard as it seems, I have to let them go into this wide, wonderful, cruel world. If I have done my job of training them up, they will be fine.
Letting go is the hardest thing that we fathers have to do. I have been protector, teacher, leader and provider for 17˝ years. My children are basically adults now. But if they are to survive, I must release them. Like the butterfly, if they are released too soon from the cocoon, they will not have developed correctly and will die. If they are never released, they will suffocate.
I would say to fathers today, don’t let past failures stop you from reclaiming the future. Our kids need us to be teachers and leaders. They need our strong and compassionate hand to guide them. They need us to lead the way. They need us to be dads.
I have had many titles over the years. I was Sgt. Mead, while serving in the 82nd Airborne, Detective Mead of the Winter Haven Police Department, now Pastor Mead of Center Cross Community Church. The title that thrills me most is when my kids still call me “Daddy.”
Happy Fathers Day.