Father’s Day

Have you ever done something that you never set out to do but somehow through a series of coincidences you ended up doing it? Well, that is what happened to me and you know what it was? It was a five-day course on parenting! You heard correct. I have just completed, as of last Tuesday, a five-week parenting course run by Anglicare. I have the Certificate of Recognition, handed to each participant, to prove it.

Attending the course was a real test of commitment on my part for several reasons, First, it was an evening course held in Hawthorn. I had to seriously consider whether I was up to driving from Hoppers Crossing through heavy city traffic to get there for the 7:00 PM start and then arrive home late in the evening. The other reason was, I was the oldest person in the class and the only one with an adult child. My fellow participants either had toddlers, adolescents or challenging teen agers and while I have a teenager of my own, her behaviour, I felt, was in stark contrast to the children of the other parents in the class. At times, I found myself sitting in class and thinking, do I really need to be here? However, I soldiered on and persevered. Well, you may be thinking “what on earth made me do it in the first place?” Initially, I had organised for a young mother from the Wyndham community to attend the course after hearing her concerns questioning her ability to cope with her teenage child, however, she pulled out at the last minute, and I felt bad for the organiser who made a special effort to keep a spot on the course open for her. So, instead of cancelling her spot I concluded it might be a good opportunity for me to see if it was something we could look at providing for our own church and the wider community. And that my friends, explains, how I ended up doing what I hadn’t intended to do.

As I sat to write this piece, it dawned on me my experience with just having completed the course on parenting coincides with Father’s Day, and in case you hadn’t noticed that day is today. Parenting is one of the most difficult tasks in life, but it is also the most rewarding. It is a commitment that requires among other things, perseverance, patience, and a dose of good humour, just to name a few. We are never too old to learn (or, relearn!) new things even with parenting. So, to all you fathers out there, young and old, on this Father’s Day, thank you for your commitment to making a go of it, of your attempts at being a good father and role model to your children. It’s not easy, often, at times it’s tough yakka coping being a dad of flustered children struggling with issues such as identity, bullying, love, rejection, strained relationships, peer pressure and the like.

There is truth to the quote by Australian photographer Anne Geddes: “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.”

My challenge this week for you friends is to say to a parent (known by you of course) either at HXChurch or at work, in the community, wherever, words of affirmation and encouragement to them as they faithfully fulfil their roles. You may want to ask if they have any prayer needs and let them know you will be praying for them. You may even consider going the extra mile by offering hospitality to them and their families. As parents, every bit of assistance helps, even if they are words of encouragement, prayer, a listening ear and a cuppa.

Peace to you on Father’s Day.