The whole world will soon be celebrating Father’s Day. The usual jokes, memes and accolades will go around social media. Some of them will be funny, critical or inspiring. Because of this coronavirus pandemic, anticipate celebrations to be unique and creative. No customary neckties, lunch buffet, and family get-togethers. As for me, I expect to simply have a Zoom Father’s Day party with my sons! And I’m fine with that.
Over the past few days, I asked many fathers two questions. The first was,“What has been your greatest challenge in your calling as a father during this quarantine period?” Many of them said that they grieve over their inability to provide for the family because of reduced work hours or job loss. On the other hand, having to say “Not now” is hardest for those who work from home. Surprisingly, there were those who admitted that being with their children 24/7 is their biggest challenge. “How can I manage my children’s schedule—study, play, chores, sleep, and gadget use—while at the same time do my own work?”
The second question was, “What has been the greatest joy?” The answer was unanimous—being physically present with their children for an extended period of time. Being stay-at-home dads have allowed them to interact meaningfully with their children—watching them grow, playing with them, answering their silly questions, getting to know them better, teaching them, and cultivating friendship with them. For the fathers who responded to my informal survey, it is obvious that the quarantine period has been a blessing. The yearning to be their children’s friend, hero, protector, guiding hand, teacher, anchor, singer, storyteller, adventurer, and confidant has been brought to light.
Fellow fathers, I encourage you to keep nurturing that yearning. Act on that longing. Continue to be the father you want to be and are meant to be. Quarantine or no quarantine, you have been entrusted with lives that will shape communities and nations. The key to fulfilling your calling as a father is love. Unconditional love. Let it be our act of gratitude to respond lovingly to this calling the way our loving Father loved us.
Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children (1 John 3:1 TPT).