Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Are Our Sheltering Trees

My husband is the kind of father every child needs and deserves to have but doesn't always get. Sadly, those who are not blessed with such fathers eventually become aware of it, for they must navigate life in the absence of that strong, supportive presence from whose influence every young person should benefit.

The fortunate ones, those who do have a stalwart and loving father in their lives, may never be able to fully appreciate their good luck. When you have a strong, devoted man who gives his all to create a safe and secure place for you to grow and thrive, it's hard to even imagine living outside the shadow of that sheltering tree he provides. Not that you don't value the branches that protect you, just that you don't know what it's like to brave the elements without them. And you never will know either, not until your father passes away, and even then you will somehow feel his influence in a way that comforts and sustains you. The essence of a good father is never really removed from us, even when his physical presence is gone.

One of my sons, a pretty wonderful father in his own right, is a marriage and family therapist who counsels adolescent offenders incarcerated in the criminal justice system. These are generally young men whose standards are either skewed or non-existent, gang members who have committed murder or other violent acts with little or no remorse. Their world of struggling for survival has seldom been peopled with supportive, hands-on fathers, and almost never with men who were ready and willing to model behavior conducive to a healthy, positive lifestyle. This son of mine has always appreciated and looked up to his dad, but working in juvenile hall has probably given him a more meaningful understanding of the powerful role he plays in the lives of his own children. 

Of course, I have always understood the role my husband plays in our family, and on this Father's Day, I want to take this opportunity to thank him. I am grateful that my children have grown up beneath his sheltering tree, and I share with them the gift of knowing that someone solid, steady, and reliable will always stand beside me. As hard as he works, as all-consuming as his schedule can be, I know with certainty that he is ready to drop anything and everything to support his loved ones in time of need. His constant, enduring (and endearing) commitment is to making life better for the people he serves so selflessly, the family he has made (and continues to make) sacrifices for every day of his married life.

Thanks, Dave. Happy Father's Day! We love you. I love you.


PS. It has always been a comfort to me knowing that all of us are born with a Heavenly Father, whose love and concern for us are infinite. His tender care and compassion are extended to every man and woman who seek Him, and His influence in our lives and hearts is more powerful and perfect than we can imagine. How grateful I am for His kind and constant presence in my life.

Here are a just a few of my favorite fathers:

We have the cutest Grandpa (and Grandma) ever.
Happy Father's Day, Dick! Happy Grandpa's Day, Grandpa!!

My husband. Trying to bear up under a father's load?
(Or maybe, a bishop's?)
Happy Father's Day, Dave! Happy Grandpa's Day, Grandpa!

Ahhhhh. Looks like he made it!

Three great dads...including Uncle Perry from our extended family.

A few members of our immediate family...two dads present, and counting.

My brother, a devoted dad, with two of his boys

Our Matt with his own son, in the same backpack his dad used for him.

Now exploring the sans backpack method of transporting his youmgest.

Nothing like flowers from Daddy!

Except, just maybe, a fishing trip!




Ryan said...

Good post and nice pictures. Happy Fathers Day

VK said...

I wish I could just copy and paste your text and add my own pictures. Your words are beautiful.
I too have a loving and supportive father, and have been lucky enough to provide one for my children.
BTW, that's the best picture of Dave holding up the redwood tree.
Happy Daddy's Day !!!

Lisa said...

ditto VK, Your words are beautiful.

Fiauna said...

I think a good dad is the best gift a daughter can have. I'm glad my daughter's have a wonderful dad.

karen said...

Loved your post. Father's Day this year was a good day.

Heather Anderson said...

Good post... I have beens o busy I hadn't had time to read it until now but I LOVE it and AGREE %100... Dave and Matt are the most devoted Dads I know! How lucky I am to have both in my life!

Dave and Mike's Camino said...

Well said, and so true. Thanks.

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