This is a great blessing: that a child might remember one simple act of loving kindness.
When Ethan was six years old his father died of a heart attack. He has exactly one memory of his father that he knows is his, and not from hearing family legends or flipping through photo books.
The memory is this: his father standing in a sunlit kitchen. A peanut butter jar is open on his left, a loaf of bread spilling out of its plastic sack in front of him. He has a knife dripping with grape jam, and he’s slathering it onto the bread. He turns and sees Ethan. Laughing, he drops the knife, not caring that it splatters purple jam across the floor, and swings his son onto the counter. He cuts the crusts off the bread, grinning at Ethan, puts the sandwich on a small white plate and hands it to him before ruffling his hair.
Ethan doesn’t remember if he ate the sandwich up on the counter. He doesn’t remember the heart attack. He doesn’t remember his father snapping at him because he was too slow getting ready for bed. He only remembers that one thing: his father making him a sandwich. He remembers his father stopping and seeing him, truly seeing him.
Fathers, the greatest blessings come when we turn our hearts toward our children, when we teach them to love and to be loved.
May you be blessed with a compass heart, tuned to the lives of your children.
If you’ve lost a child, father, may you have peace today, and the certainty that your child knew you loved them.
Step-fathers, may you be true family to your children, and may you have wisdom to parent with vulnerability and honest love.
Foster dads, may you bring light and joy to the children in your care, and may those children live in your heart.
For those longing for children but unable to have them, may you be father to those in need around you. May God bless you with orphans and needy children in abundance, and may you be a blessed father to them.
May you be remembered not as the father who walked away, but as the one who came back. May you be one who brings peace, not chaos. May you teach your children to walk the path of love even in difficult times.
To all fathers: May your children remember you for your everyday acts of love. May they recall the time you turned off the game to hear about their day, or how you sat every year in the front row of their ballet, or the gentle way you held them when they shared their deepest fears.
May your child remember a small thing: a sandwich without crusts, a sunlit kitchen, a kiss on the forehead, a happy certainty that they are loved.
Have a happy, blessed Father’s Day.