At least once a year we celebrate fathers. The rest of the time we take 'em for granted.
It never was, but once upon a time a dad knew what was expected of him. He got up in the morning, went to work, brought home a paycheck, mowed the lawn and loved his wife and kids.
Maybe he attended his children's ball games and dance recitals, maybe not. He could say, "Sorry, I'm too tired from work," without much hassle. His wife and children usually said something like, "Poor Dad. You work so hard you must be tired." So he could wave goodbye, then watch TV or read a book with a clear conscience.
That was then, this is now
Dads are not allowed to have bad days.
Neither are moms, of course.
Mom typically expects Dad to be there for things like Little League, recitals and school conferences. Period. After all, isn't she just as tired as he is? And didn't they agree they would be equal partners in rearing their children?
Yes, they did. He meant it, too, because he wants to be more supportive of his wife and involved with his children than his own father was. The trouble is, sometimes he truly can't make it. It may seem to Mom he's not trying hard enough. She sighs, then schleps the kids and all their gear around to wherever they're supposed to be. For their sake she pastes on a smile.
Once the family comes together again, tension crackles the air between husband and wife. Neither one feels the other has lived up to expectations. A cold war looms unless one or both of them is willing to yield their position as the one who's more "right" than the other and declare a peace settlement.
The shocking truth
Every father is a cracked pot. So is every mother.
No dad lives up to the images portrayed in old shows like, "Father Knows Best," or "The Waltons." Those on-screen dads had an advantage. The actors simply learned their scripts, then acted their parts. Real-life dads play it by ear and do the best they can with what they know at the moment.
Isn't that exactly what we real-life moms do?
Male or female, older or younger, not one of us has all the answers and every one of us knows more at the end than we did at the beginning. So my dear Sisters, let's cut our husbands some slack, just as we accept the excuses we make to ourselves.
We are all cracked pots, so let's be quick to forgive each other and accept each other. There's no better way to model for our families how Christians handle conflict and frustrations.
Besides, as author Patsy Clairmont put it, God's light can shine brighter through those cracks.
It's time for a fresh look at our own fathers
Some of us harbor a kernel of pain within, hurtful memories of how our dads let us down. Around Father's Day those emotions rise up from wherever we kept them locked away. If that's what you're feeling, it's time to plug in this old/new truth: Our own fathers were cracked pots, too.
Dads of yesterday were no more perfect than dads of today. They didn't have all the books and the Internet to use as references. They had themselves and what they knew at the time. Period. They tried and sometimes they failed us
They faced different challenges, but most of them probably tried hard to be a good dad. They, too, did the best they could with what they knew at the time and with the circumstances of their lives. Some of them simply didn't know how to express their feelings, to show us the love we desperately craved.
Is there a better time than today to lay that old pain at the foot of the cross?
What's the one-size-fits all gift for Dad?
Love. Nobody ever gets too much of it. There's another reason, too, one that Peter lays out in 1 Peter 4:8:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Love helps us appreciate and accept each other's imperfections, so here's to all of us having hearts filled with love,