Happy Fathers Day!

At the Chattahoochee

At the Chattahoochee

When I was very young, I quickly realized that popular perceptions of what it means to be a “Dad” did not jive with how my own father went about the job. Every day of my life, I have always known that being my dad was the single most important thing in my father’s world. He went about learning to be a parent with great intentionality – reading every book he could on the subject, talking to parents and mentors whom he respected, and also talking with me about the decisions he made – even the mistakes he made – as a parent, and why.

There isn’t enough space to enumerate all the things I have learned from Dad, but certainly one of them is that parenting is a partnership of mutual respect and honesty that requires an absolute commitment of time, energy, and priorities. Above all, it requires a boundless supply of love and grace.

I’ve never met anyone who has the kind of relationship with their father that I have with mine, although John-Francis Villines is always quick to point out that he and I also have that kind of uniquely close relationship of shared affection and trust. He’s kind to say so, but I think that’s cheating. In being the best father I know how to be to my own son, I am only following the example of the best father and the best man I have ever known.

Share This:Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Mothers Day Wishes

Banjo Lesson - Mary Cassat

The Banjo Lesson - Mary Cassat

 

As a child, I watched with some amusement the almost comical, fawning performances typical of Southern, evangelical churches on Mother’s Day.

As a teenager, I came to realize that much of the rhetoric contained therein actually functioned to reinforce patriarchal structures that intentionally excluded women from leadership roles, and limited their options to those matching certain gender stereotypes.

When I became a pastor, I came to realize how much grief was centered on Mother’s Day for many people. Some congregants had lost children, or never had them despite wanting them desperately. Others grieved the loss of their mothers. Still others had suffered abuse at the hands of their mothers, and Mother’s Day caused them to relive that trauma.

And yet, amidst all of these feelings, there are many who wish to honor their mothers and all the diverse expressions of motherhood. Some mothers are quietly supportive and deeply compassionate. Others are strict and uncompromising. Some mothers are corporate executives. Others are accomplished professionals. And other mothers dedicate themselves to creating healthy homes. There is no single best way to be a parent, and the many incarnations of motherhood remind us of that.

Whatever this day means to you, I hope it is a happy one, and I hope that you find the opportunity to honor the best of what this day can represent: celebration of those who nurtured us as children and sustain us as adults.

Share This:Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn