BY REV. DR. VAHAN H. TOOTIKIAN
Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. The idea of an annual celebration was conceived by Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington, in memory of her father Mr. William Smart. When Mr. Smart lost his wife, he played the role of both father and mother to his six children.
Mrs. Dodd always remembered her father’s sacrifice. She believed fathers, like mothers, deserve to have a special day. In tribute to the memory of her father, she wanted to recognize all fathers on the third Sunday in June—the day of her father’s death. Thus, Father’s Day was born.
The news of a Father’s Day celebration quickly spread. The spirit of the day seemed to touch the hearts of people even in faraway countries.
What is fatherhood and who is a good father?
The dictionary defines father as a male parent. Then, if we look up the word parent, it is defined as the source of a living thing. So, the basic definition of a father would be a man who participates in the biological process of producing another human being.
But there is more to being a father than that. Yes, there is much more to being a father than simply siring a child.
Several years ago, there was a bumper sticker which said something like this: “Any man can be a father. It takes a special man to be a daddy.”
A good father is not only a procreator but also a provider. He furnishes his family with the necessities of life. The children may not have everything they want, but they have what they need. Through his continuous labor and consistent devotion, he provides his children a suitable house, necessary clothing, and sufficient food.
A good father is an educator, an inspirer and enabler, who cares for, shares with, loves, and guides his children. He is neither permissive nor brutal. He knows that discipline and guidance are woven into the very fabric of life. He supervises the activities of the home within the bounds of good taste morally, socially, recreationally, and spiritually.
A good father considers his children as a sacred trust from God and acts as an indebted and responsible steward to the Sovereign Owner, God. He keeps himself physically healthy and morally pure. He sets a good example of a well-rounded person who is a worthy model for his children.
A good father is one who would teach his children by precept and personal example that both he and his offsprings are the children of a Heavenly Father whose love surpasses all human love, that their greatest need is a vital and personal relationship with God.
Fatherhood is a great privilege and a great calling from God. But like any privilege, it is a great responsibility.
Children, on the other hand, have certain obligations and responsibilities toward their fathers. Yes, a father’s love should be reciprocated by his children. Children can express their love visibly and vocally. They can show their love by a touch, look, kiss, hug, and a word.
They can express their love not only in word, but also through thoughtful gestures and kindly deeds, children can bring honor to their father and keep the family name in high esteem. Above all, fathers and their children should recognize and worship their Heavenly Father, the Father of all creation.
Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian is the Minister Emeritus of the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit and the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.