Happy Father’s Day. Here’s to all fathers and the fatherly heart in all – fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, big brother mentors and all people who take seriously your role in guiding the next generation of young lives. Be the best person you can be. The true measure of your life and your family is not DNA or blood connections, but the love you share, the memories you create and the connections you leave behind when you’re done.
Give thanks for the privilege of partaking in the miracle of life. Feel this joy deeply. Each moment is a miracle. Let the mystery wash over your mind, body and spirit. If you are a parent celebrate your special, co-creative role in the miracle of life.
Fathers, consider the single cell you contributed to the miracle of new life. The cell was so small that you couldn’t see it with the naked eye, and the nucleus in the center of the cell that contained the DNA was even smaller. And yet if you unraveled the DNA of this single cell, unwound and uncoiled it, it would stretch to over six feet long. Now if you are like me and you look eye to six foot high eye with your kid, you are looking eye to eye with the miracle of life. In my case, I’m looking at a six foot bundle of creative potential with the world at his feet. Then I lower my gaze to my second, and I see a five foot bundle of gentle compassion who holds the world in his heart. Then I lower my gaze still further to my four foot miracle of sweetness with my heart wrapped around her finger.
Now as you look at your four, five or six foot miracles, consider that if you took all the DNA from all the 50 trillion cells in their body, and unraveled and uncoiled it, it would stretch to the moon and back multiple times. It’s no accident that this is also the amount that you love them. To the moon and back…. multiple times.
Let the miracle wash over you. No matter what has gone down between you and your father or the father figures in your life, the miracle that you are connected at a cellular level puts everything in perspective. Let go of bitterness or bad feeling. Let go of hurt and ill will. You are related at the most intimate level. Make this a day of forgiveness, letting go and moving on.
In the words of Ecclesiastes, ‘A three-fold chord is not easily broken.” I love this verse. Create chords of love and connection in your life and make these relationships your priority. A single chord is easily broken. A double chord is strong. A threefold chord is hard to break. Here is what I love about this analogy. If you look closely at an image of DNA, it looks like twisted, looping cords. It’s a long intertwined cord that connects you to life, to your children, to your ancestors, at a cellular level. How incredible! Let the miracle wash over you. Father’s Day is a celebration of the miracle of life down to the smallest detail and out to the largest perspective.
Evolution and Fatherhood
Maybe you think that this description of fatherhood is a little lofty for your experience of dads or of being a dad. We dads are often just goofy and embarrassing. Cornball humor is part of the job description of being a dad. Give thanks for all that is goofy and cringeworthy. There may be evolutionary reasons for the embarrassment. A psychologist in a University in the UK conducted an interesting experiment. He compared the dancing styles of different aged men. Men between the ages of 35 and 60 think they are awesome dancers. They let loose on the dance floor and attempt the most complex moves. But their lack of coordination is obvious to all except them, and it is especially obvious to their kids at a family wedding. The conclusion of the study is that middle aged men are atrocious dancers for an evolutionary reason – to divert the attention of young women away from them and onto younger, more appropriate partners.
So Dads, next time your kids mock you for your dancing, or general goofiness, let them know that it’s out of your hands. It’s an evolutionary survival instinct.
Here’s the point. Life goes in stages and each stage has its purposes and benefits. You are engaged in a push/pull relationship with your family for good reason. Your goofiness is drawing you close to younger kids, making them feel safe, and helping them to bond. And it’s helping older kids learn independence and appropriate boundaries. There is a reason and a season for everything – from bonding to embarrassment to independence.
Does your family get you down, frustrate and annoy you at times? Consider that they are just reminding you of the possibility of human growth and change, preparing you for life in the so called real world. The push/pull of parent/ child relationships is nothing new. It’s been going on for centuries. Give thanks for your fathers, even the goofy and annoying parts. They are reminding you to hold loosely to life and expect change. Give thanks for fathers and father figures, even those you have unresolved tension with. They are making you stronger and more independent.
Do you sometimes get discouraged that you aren’t appreciated in your family? It happens to most of us at some point. Remember that everyone is growing and doing the best they can in the moment. See beyond the superficial frustrations to the deep connections that are a threefold chord. There aren’t many days that go by when I don’t say to my youngest and only girl, “You are the sweetiest sweety in the whole world.” Do you know what she does? She rolls her eyes at me. But I can see in her rolling eyes the glint of recognition that she is loved and accepted. It’s a simple thing, but it’s a miracle and a gift. If you feel unappreciated, give more love, encouragement and praise and watch it all come back to you in spades.
Calling all fathers, and the father heart in all. Take time to honor the miracle of life that you helped bring into the world. But conception was just the beginning. Now you have the responsibility to nurture and lead these young ones to take their place as responsible citizens. It’s a responsibility, a privilege and a joy.
Teach your sons that size and speed may matter but depth matters even more.
Teach your daughters that diversity is beautiful and beauty is diverse and that they are beautiful and completely accepted just as they are.
Remind your sons and daughters that you have their back. They can set out in search of their dreams and you will be there through thick and thin.
Happy Father’s Day to all!