"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Monday, June 17, 2013



My links never work. But if you can track down this article, I liked it. It's not long or exhaustive, but it makes a simple point that holds true in my life. If you have the time or interest...you could check it out.

Father's Day, a day late

I feel compelled to write despite the circumstances, so forgive a pretty poorly composed post.  I have to speak to the importance of fathers.  You can't parent without them! Of course, some women do. My husband's grandma was widowed with an eleven year old, a thirteen year old, and a sixteen year old.  She raised them all and did so beautifully.  But even at that, the legacy that man had laid before his too-early death had paved the way for obedient children whose hearts were already docile to the parenting of their mother. He had been a strong disciplinarian, but my mother-in-law also still treasures the bag of marbles her dad would get out on the floor and play with them. 

My sister had to, also, for 6 years. And her girls are also wonderful. But my sister lived across the street from my father and three grown brothers, all loving and attentive uncles, who had no qualms about supporting my sister in her authority and disciplinary role.  Neither did they have qualms with cuddling, telling stories, or taking her girls on special outings.  There was a special support group there that held a place in the lives of those girls until a new father was given to them in God's providence.

I am not going to tell you about my husband because no one wants to hear me brag about him. Everyone thinks their husband is the best father, which is as it should be, because it is only that man who is given as the father to his particular children.  But I am going to state a little list of things that I think make a great father. First, he has to be 100% in love with the mother of his children.  Following this, he must support her 100% as regards his children. He must make them respect and obey her. Second, he has to be a good disciplinarian. The Dad is the ultimate authority in the home, and his word is law.  Along these lines, the mother must obey (as she has vowed) perfectly, and the children will soon understand that it is futile to whine or whimper once the father has spoken.  There is room for mom to "talk with Dad" about things...a child's final hope...but it is still the father whose decision stands.  I believe discipline must be extremely strong, not saying it must be corporal.  It must be consistent and have 100% follow through, or as close to that as possible.  Obedience is one of the most important virtues for a child to learn (along with honesty), and mothers are often just too soft, or too tired, to follow through. Dad's are the pinch hitters. (Pitch hitters? What is the phrase?) It's up to them. I blame the fathers if the kids are out of control. Mothers are supposed to be soft. Not saying we get a pass on discipline, but it's different. A child must obey, but of course, mercy is greater than justice, and a father shows his greatness in his magnanimity.  A child who learns that his father can be merciful is likely to show mercy himself.  In fact, a child should be held to display of mercy (especially toward younger siblings) and be specifically reminded of the times he was shown mercy.  But a child should know he has received mercy, while obediently acknowledging that strict justice was not delivered.  And this is different than not following through on a threat.  It is something that seems to happen more if a child understands and acknowledges his mistake and, perhaps, does not need to lose dessert as well.

I'm sure that's too much in one paragraph, but I want to drop this thought bomb because if I don't, the thoughts will not be recorded...for what they're worth.

So, first his wife; second, discipline. My final point should possibly not have been saved for last, but it's the love. A father has to be able to demonstrate his love in many ways, but certainly physically and certainly verbally.  A dad needs to be able to get on the floor and act like whatever animal his child requests. He needs to give a goodnight kiss.  He needs to comfort injuries, physical and emotional.  He needs to give every spare moment of his free time to his children (even if that's always too limited)...because they are just that important to him.

That's it. That's what makes a great dad.  (Well, spiritual life is the unstated "given"...and a child needs to see his father who is man enough to get on his knees before the Almighty, and His Mother...but in a nutshell, that's what I think.)  

And that's why I love fathers and Father's Day!