by Randy Hain | August 16, 2012 12:01 am
I was talking to a fellow dad over lunch recently about the challenges of raising kids today. After the usual story swapping and a discussion about bad cultural influences, my friend left the table saying, “I need to get back to the office. Next time we get together we should brainstorm a handy checklist for fathers so we won’t forget what we are supposed to be doing!” His statement has stuck with me since our meeting and I decided I can’t wait until the next lunch to explore this topic. The stakes are too high and this generation of children desperately needs fathers to step up to their responsibilities.
I was blessed to grow up with great parents. We didn’t have much, but my parents made sure my sister and I had love, discipline, faith, strong values and a solid work ethic. My mother played a vital role in our family, as all mothers do, but I find as I grow older that I am most like my father. I pass many of the lessons he taught me on to my own children and still look to him for wisdom and advice. Look back on your own upbringing. What role did your father play? Were there other role models? Just as many of us live out the lessons we learned in our youth, our children will someday emulate us. They are always watching and we have to decide if we will be their heroic role models who consistently set the right example or relinquish our fatherly responsibilities to a host of bad societal influences. Which will it be?
As I pondered my friend’s comment about the “checklist for fathers” I made a list of the actions I am working on that I learned from my father and my own experiences as a parent. Just making this list was convicting and challenging for me as I became acutely aware of where I fall short. Yet, reflecting on this list has also inspired me and I try to reflect on these actions during my prayer time each day. I have a long way to go, but I believe living up to the expectations below will keep me headed in the right direction.
Seven Point Checklist for Catholic Dads
I have serious concerns about today’s kids and I know without a doubt that strong fathers are part of the solution. Please take a few minutes after you read this post to reflect on how you are doing as a father and a husband. Take the results of this reflection to prayer or Reconciliation and make a commitment to change if necessary. I assure you I will be in the confessional this Saturday!
As Catholic men, we have a responsibility to be strong fathers and husbands, leaders in our parishes, good stewards in the community and humble followers of Christ. Let’s look to the inspiring example of Saint Joseph, patron saint of fathers, workers and the Universal Church for his obedience, humility, selflessness, courage and the love he showed to Mary and Jesus. If we can emulate St. Joseph even a little each day, we will be that much closer to becoming the men and fathers we are called to be.
Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was recently released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online and your local Catholic bookstore.
The Catholic Briefcase was recently voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.
Randy Hain’s new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith will be released by Liguori Publications in November 2012 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
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