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The following was originally published by Deseret News.
Father’s Day brings with it a tinge of guilt for a lot of guys who know they could do and be better as a parent. It is easy to compare yourself to others — and hard to live up to that perfect dad depicted in the misty picture on the cover of the latest parenting book.
Men should remember that being a fabulous father or a dynamic dad has nothing to do with the size of your bank account, the title of your profession or the toys parked in your driveway. Fatherhood is not about your midsection and whether it goes in front, over or beyond your belt. A great dad is not determined by and has nothing to do with fame and fortune or the accolades of the public. It matters little whether you can run a mile, pose for GQ, or count the declining number of hairs on your head with one hand.
Real, faithful fathers simply take time for their children and constantly demonstrate through word and deed that they love and cherish their families and their communities.
The world seems determined to dumb down and even dismiss the role of righteous men and faithful fathers. The media portrays men as knuckleheaded, bumbling idiots who have to constantly be saved from themselves. (And yes, sometimes we deserve it, but bashing men over the head with their faults while diminishing all the good they do is not helpful to men, women or children.)
Society is reeling from the retreat of men from the home, neighborhood and society. It is true that some men have given up or given in to declining morals, values and narcissism. Yet there is a veritable army of fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers who regularly — without fanfare and far from the spotlight — choose to make a difference. High-impact fathering happens in the low-lying events of day-to-day life — and need not be tied to a biological father. A ride to school, a trip to the store, a walk around the neighborhood, a simple email, a few minutes spent reading a book, a handwritten note, an encouraging word, can — for a child or an adult — become sacred ground where a positive future begins.
As with mothers, one day a year for dads just doesn’t cut it! I am most thankful this week for the mighty men in my life. Starting with my dad, who lived a life as close to a true disciple of Christ as anyone I have ever known, whose love for others and ability to see the good in people changed lives and lifted many a lost soul. I am grateful for brothers, uncles, friends, teachers, bosses and current colleagues who daily demonstrate what it means to be a “difference maker” and an example of all that is good and all that is possible.
Edgar Albert Guest wrote:
Only a dad with a tired face, Coming home from the daily race,
Toiling and striving from day to day, Facing whatever may come his way,
Glad in his heart that his own rejoice, To see him come home and to hear his voice.
Only a dad, but he gives his all, Smoothing the way for his children small,
Doing with courage so stern and grim, The deeds that his father did for him.
These are the lines that for him I pen, Only a dad—but the best of men.
To all those who have been the “best of men” in my life, I offer my humble gratitude for your impact and influence — it doesn’t end. We all should take time this week to say thanks and even offer a prayer of appreciation for “the best of men” who bless our lives. Society must strive to re-enthrone the vital role of fathers and work with the rising generation to ensure the world will have another greatest generation ready to rise to the challenges of its day. It is true that for society to thrive, we must continue to have both extraordinary women and the best of men.