A few thoughts on Father’s Day
Anyone who knows me (or who has read my book, Driven By Desperation) is aware that the most profound male influence in my life was my grandfather Melbourne. He was the person who taught me, as the saying goes, how to be.
Hindsight, always 20-20, has revealed to me in colorful detail his kind demeanor, his quiet nobility, his devotion to family, his unshakeable integrity and his willingness to accept with grace whatever formidable challenges God sent to him. His complete trust in the Almighty’s intentions, in fact, kept him from doing what so many do under adversity––shaking his fist at the sky!
Meanwhile, I watched, listened and tried to obey. (No, I wasn’t always successful––but I gradually made some progress.)
This month, with Father’s Day on the calendar once more, Reader’s Digest has published a letter written by not-yet-President Ronald Reagan in 1971 to his son Michael on the eve of his wedding. It addressed a male cultural dynamic: “Some men feel their masculinity can be proven only if they play out in their own lives all the locker-room stories.” And: “You know better than many what an unhappy home is and what it can do to others. Now you have a chance to make it come out the way it should.”
I have come to realize that a huge part of fathering/grandfathering is wisdom-sharing, the kind that tiptoes gently into a room. It is thoughtful, not bombastic, ill-conceived, irate or woven with prejudice and hate-speech. It allows for personal idiosyncrasies and human error without character assassination. It encourages rather than decimates.
Never worry that your boy will not likely recall any of it. He will. As an adult, I still hear my grandfather’s voice inside my head every day. It may have taken some time to penetrate fully, but now that its presence is a permanent fixture, and I know it will never leave me…well, things are coming out exactly the way they should.