This week, as we celebrate Father’s Day, Deacon Silva shares a favorite childhood memory and some of the qualities that make a great dad.
By: Deacon Marques Silva
My favorite memory with my dad was a Boy Scout camping trip we attended. We had never gone camping together and I remember being especially excited.
As we prepared for the trip, we went shopping together to purchase our food with an assigned budget in mind. While I hoped to purchase pizza-biscuit supplies (cheap and yummy) he picked up steak. He said to me, “Why eat junk food when you can eat well. We just need to save money during our lunches.” Brilliant! Then came the campout.
While I was setting up our campsite, he decided to check out the surrounding area. After 20 minutes, I went looking for him. I found him sweeping out a cabin with the electricity turned on. I looked at him and said, “Dad, we’re camping. Why’re you sweeping a cabin?” He replied, “Son, I did multiple tours through Vietnam and slept in the jungle too many times to count. Why sleep in a tent when a perfectly good roof presents itself and offers you electricity as well?”
What he said made no sense to me until the downpour started that evening, and continued through Saturday…and Sunday. He checked the weather report before the trip. My dad and I showed up at every talk and activity bone dry, refreshed and well fed. We didn’t need to start a fire (because we had electricity) and we were warm because we were dry. The other father-and-son pairs looked, well, really really bad.
Our fathers are neither perfect and nor do most of them try to be. While we are kids, we look at them with awe; sometimes forgetting that they are human and learning as they go. As a father of four — ranging in age from 12 to 21 years old — and I am still learning from my children and the model dads around me. That said, I have found that there are common traits found in every great dad:
He has a sense of continuity with the past.
A father does not ignore history because he understands that every trial and triumph has made him into the man he is today. He understands that starting a family does not mean you live in isolation, but that he needs the support and love of those who came before him.
He remains close to his children.
Spock, an American pediatrician in the 1970s, said it was about the quality, not the quantity, when it comes to time. He was dead wrong. Children need to be with their dads as much as possible. And when dad is home, he needs to be present to them not just present in the house. Man caves — the most narcissistic idea ever!
He is a man of character.
He prefers virtue over vice and realizes that virtue, like faith, is caught more than taught. He does not fear failure or taking responsibility for his actions.
He loves his wife and shows her public affection.
He shows his children that he respects and loves her. He does not control her, but is her partner in a lifelong adventure. No one needs to be told that she is his wife because he proudly wears his wedding ring and compliments her at work and at home.
He has faith in God.
The research is irrefutable. If the father is religious, then his children will be, too. Not only that, but children will have a better sense of who they are and will be less anxious.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. Give your dad a call and share with him one story about how he has taught you. It will mean a lot to him.