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Time to Celebrate Fathers!

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Fathers play such important roles in our lives. But so many people grow up without dads. That's why it is so helpful to realize that God is our true Father. Jesus even said to "call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt 23:9). God is always fathering all of us. Not one of us can be deprived of God's guidance, direction, protection, strength, assurance, and power. As God is "Our Father" (Luke 11:2) -- your Father, my Father, our Father -- God is always watching over us all.

We also read in the Bible, "You call out to God for help and he helps -- he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living" (The Message, I Pet 1:17).

Fathers help us in so many ways. They make sure we stay on track; maintain our integrity; learn the importance of courage, discipline, and strength; and much more. They have so much they want to teach us. There's so much we can learn from them. Sometimes dads don't talk a lot. Often they just act. They try to set a good example for us. They work hard. They support us as best as they can.

We have many reasons to be thankful for our dads (and for anyone who has fulfilled the role of a dad in our lives). It's so important that we let them know how much we appreciate all the hard work and all the sacrifices they've made trying to give us a wonderful life.

  • We honor our Father and our dads when we live a good, honest, meaningful life. In this way, we are proving that we’ve learned from their example.
  • We respect them when we listen to their viewpoints. After all, they, too, were youths. And now that they’re older, they have perspectives on life that we simply cannot have because we have not experienced as much as they have.
  • We show them we care when we can accept their helpful and thoughtful criticism with grace and strength.
  • We prove our interest and our desire to learn from them when we try to understand why they’re telling us something or why they’re doing something in a particular way instead of trying to prove our own point all the time.
  • We make them feel good when we let them know that they are important to us.

Here are more suggestions for making our dads feel appreciated.

  • We can give them hugs. We’re never too old to give our dads hugs.
  • We can be there for them we they need help, regardless if it’s a major or minor thing that needs extra hands or supportive thoughts. It often seems like dads don’t need help, but they do.
  • Give them a break from their work at home. Do some of the chores they do. Or do our own before they ask.
  • Ask them about their work. Be interested in their lives, in what they know.
  • Have them tell you stories from their childhood and what it was like growing up.
  • Tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Dads need just as much encouragement and love as we do. They usually don’t get a lot of thanks at work. So make sure you make up for it at home.

And most of the suggestions from our Time to Celebrate Mothers article focusing on moms for Mother's Day apply to dads. You may just have to tailor them a bit. But this definitely includes praying for your dad and for your relationship with your dad. Even if we have great relationships, we still want to pray.

And the more we understand that God is our real Father, the closer we'll feel to our own dads. And if we don't have a dad currently in our experience, as we get closer to God, we'll discover that the sense of lack in our lives disappears, for God is filling the void. God is absolutely everywhere fathering us at all times. Let's rejoice in this truth and acknowledge it. And let's make sure we thank God just as we thank our dads.

Have fun thinking of ways to do things for your dad, just as he has spent so much of his life doing things for you.