Friday, June 13, 2014

When Mother’s Day rolls around, those of us that preach on Sunday’s develop a sermon that honors the moms among us.  It is really not a day for preaching.  Some of my colleagues will even make use of syrupy poems or heartfelt stories.  And of course all Mother’s Day sermons are short.  We must get out moms out early, so they can be the first at the restaurant.  I have actually done all of the above.  I am all about honoring mothers.

But then Father’s Day follows in June.  The order of the day is much different.  Those of us that preach feel compelled to do just that on Father’s Day, but on steroids!  Father’s Day is a Sunday to preach about duty, responsibility, and the like.  Little thought is given to getting dad to his favorite restaurant ahead of the crowd.

This Sunday will be different.  As a beginning point, I am going to ask for a show of hands…How many people sitting out there were raised by GI Generation fathers?  And specifically, how many had dads that were veterans of WWII?   And how many were raised by members of the next generation?  Some of those men would be Korean War Veterans.  At the church I serve, there will be a fair number of men that raise their hands.

I will be among that group that raises their hand.  In 1944, my father was training to fly a bomber. He would be among those that would drop bombs in anticipation of an invasion of Japan to end the WWII.  Ultimately the decision to drop the atomic bomb ended the war.  My father and other members of his Army Air Corps squadron were allowed to go home before their training was completed.

Those men came home and started families. The baby boom was on!  They did not talk about their war experiences much.  They were not inclined to complain.  They just worked hard and tried to be responsible husbands and fathers.  In fact, their understanding of love was rooted in such activities. They viewed love as being equivalent to working hard and being responsible.  Consequently they were not the expressive types as a rule. They were not always overtly affectionate.  They were not always inclined to tell their children they loved them.  

At times, my generation has been hard on these fathers.  We resent the lack of affirmation and verbal expressions of love. And at times we have wondered if we were really valued and loved by these men that had such stoic leanings.  And some of us have even emulated their traits as we have raised our own children. 
I am going to honor fathers on this Father’s Day.  I am going to point out that the dads of the G.I. and Silent Generations really did love us.  We should be grateful for their dedication and responsibility.  We are still benefiting today from their commitments.  Now I do believe verbalizing love and approval is important. I could do much better in that department.  But this Sunday I will honor dads for their good traits.

 While my colleagues in town preach long sermons this Sunday calling their dads to duty, my dad’s will be taking their seats at their favorite restaurant. I think they deserve to get out early this Sunday. 

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