With his typical humour, American radio personality Paul Harvey once said: ‘A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anaesthetic... that growls when it feels good—and laughs very loud when it’s scared half to death. A father never feels entirely worthy of the worship in a child’s eyes. He’s never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be—and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him. Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who’ll live the longest. I don’t know where fathers go when they die... wherever it is, he won’t be happy unless there’s work to do. He won’t just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he’s loved and the children she bore. He’ll be busy there, too, repairing the stairs, oiling the gates, improving the streets, smoothing the way.’
When Paul needed an example of a positive influence, he talked about ‘a father... with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God.’ If your dad distinguished himself as a good role model, remember to thank him. If you weren’t blessed with that kind of influence, or you grew up without a dad, let today be an occasion to honour the spiritual fathers who did nurture and inspire you.