By Msgr John W. Katende
During the celebrations of Fathers’ Day recently, some insights crossed my mind and I beg to share them with the reader.
Although society accepts single mothers with children as families, the definition of a family is based on fatherhood.
In his letter to the Ephesians St. Paul writes, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (3:14-15).Without a father, there is no family.
The proof of this is that the family gets its name from the father. An orphan is described as fatherless.
In his life and teaching, Jesus revealed that the most important title that God enjoys is “Father”. Since Father is the greatest title we can ascribe to God, then every man should be proud to be called father.
Even a single man is called to be a father to the fatherless. Fatherhood should, hence, be exalted as the greatest vocation for man.
Taken as acronym, “father” may stand for faith, available, teacher, humble, emotionally intelligent and resourceful.
The father represents God. He ought to be a man of faith. The entire family will then grow in the ways of God and attract the blessings of God. Faith in God also implies being fully committed to a life-long relationship with wife and children.
As a man of faith, the father should be ready to sacrifice himself for the good of the family, to the extent of foregoing the enjoyment of his sensual desires.
Under faith the father is the priest of the family. He assumes responsibility for the practicing of the faith in the home. He makes supplications for his wife and children. He blesses the family members at bedtime and as children leave for school, work or travel.
The father introduces his family to the rest of society as well as to the bigger faith community.
Availability of a father implies being around most of the time. He should be approachable, attentive, listening, caring and protective of each and every family member. The father ought to plan and provide a sense of direction for the family.
He should respect and nurture the vocation of each member.
As teacher the father transmits life skills, faith and cultural values. He must do this by word and example. Fathers who disregard the importance of culture and faith would be teaching their children to be disobedient.
A humble father should be ready to learn even from his own mistakes.
The father must exercise some degree of emotional intelligence. This will enable him pay enough attention to the needs of each and every family member while at the same time being able to attend to his own needs.
He ought to respect, value, approve and accord justice as well as forgiveness in order to uplift the entire family.
Fatherhood goes beyond biological reproduction. The father ought to provide for the family by being resourceful and hardworking.
He must teach the rest of the family members to do the same. Jesus was associated with the trade of his father Joseph.
However, fathers are human as well. It is literally impossible for any dad to meet the "perfect" father standard.
This is why we have God our heavenly Father. When our earthly fathers fail, we will still be able to count on God. He is always there when we are in need, and can exceed all standards.
Last, but not least, we also acknowledge and celebrate the fatherhood of our spiritual leaders. They share in God’s fatherhood at a higher level.
Thank God for your father and always make a special prayer for him.