By Craig Funston
Owing to the necessity of deadlines, I can never get any pertinent column in on time. I am either a few days early or few days late for any significant event—that is, unless the big day (whatever it is) happens to fall on Tuesday.
So, a day late and a dollar short, here’s to all you dads ( real and wannabe, legitimate and illegitimate) out there: Happy Father’s Day.
I won’t be too hard on you (or me) today; we have enough movies, television sit-coms, and feminists doing that already. But, on the other hand, I won’t pontificate about what to do, what not to do, and how to follow through.
After nearly thirty years of trying (which rhymes with crying), I still haven’t got it straight.
When it comes to Father’s Day, I must confess that I haven’t sent him a father’s day card for over twenty-two years. “Ignorant wuss,” you say? “Insensitive boor,” you say again?
No, try this: He’s been “gone” for that length of time. From my Christian worldview, I believe he’s gone to his reward, to a place known as heaven. (I’m not asking you to agree with me, but I would ask you to show some–what’s that buzz word today?–”tolerance,” please.)
If I could write him a note of appreciation for being my father, I would include some of the following points. It’s too bad he is not able to read it. Maybe you can use some of these insights for your own father sometime.
First, I would thank him for his faith. Again, I’m not asking anyone to agree with my view. After all, I am having a wide variety of lifestyles, values, and perspectives crammed down my throat, so I think I have as much right to express my point of view as anyone else.
His was a faith of practical Christianity, by living by the Good Book, by serving others, by honouring God. I have picked up on much, but certainly not all, of that. I say that to my shame. His was a faith that was caught, not necessarily taught.
Second, I would thank him for loving my mother. He was a wonderful example of a genuinely loving husband. Now that would be a salt-of-the-earth love, not the Hollywood tripe we’re exposed to these days. His was a respectful affection, a clear focus on who was the most important person in his life.
His example wasn’t as clear to me when I was a kid as it is today, now that I am pushing 60. I wonder why I pick up on these things so late in life?
Third, I would thank him for being there for me…often. I was the fourth son of four sons, and there were times that I felt a little left out, that I was an appendage in the family—and not a vital organ. However, that was probably just the confused perspective of a twelve-year-old.
Over the years, when I was in public school, I was involved in a number of plays. (Surprised?) Guess who always showed up to see his son play the spinny wizard in The Wizard of Oz and the goofy step-father in a musical version of Cinderella, among other plays? (Maurice, it rhymes with “egad.”)
Was he perfect? Are you kidding me? But twenty-two years since his passing, I can’t remember any of his faults. That’s what time, maturity, and life itself does, namely, you move on and forget the petty disappointments.
It’s a much different world than it was in the 60’s and 70’s, when my parents were raising us on dearest Lulu Island (seriously). The role and value of dads have changed considerably since then, but the essence of fatherhood has not.
For those around me, I wish I had half of his faith, his love, and his support.
He won’t be reading this column where he is. I doubt they have Internet in heaven, and even if they did, I doubt he would be up for any form of social media. I can’t see him doing Facebook (he worked more along the style of face-to-face); and he probably wouldn’t be into texting (though he loved the Great Text).
Here’s to you, Dad.