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THE BLOG

Father's Day Observation

In my forty years of ministry, the day never became a day to recognize all those who were dads and to have them stand and be recognized. I have never heard any young man complain about being left out or ignored on Father's Day because they have not become a father.
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For forty years I had the pleasure of being a pastor in a congregation. Every May we had a recognition of Mother's Day. Over the course of those forty years there grew up a real divide. There was the focus at the beginning on giving thanks for the mother you had. Everybody had a mother and everybody could participate. ( This ignore the whole question of those whose mothers were cruel, abandoned, or somehow unworthy of gratitude) But everybody had a mother and so Mother's Day was a day in which all people could participate.

Slowly there came the equal focus in many service to recognize all those who were mothers. If you had had children you were singled out and lifted up and recognized. This became a moment of pain and sorrow for all the women who had not had a child. All those single women who had not had a child were excluded. All the barren wives were excluded. It was a moment when all those who were mothers were recognized and a pain and sorrow for all the women who had never had a child.

In my own comments, I always focused only on the fact that we all had mothers and we were, on this day, recognizing and giving thanks for the mothers we had. But that did not stop the officers and the deacons and ushers from giving flowers only to those who were mothers. A painful exclusion for many women.

When it came to June and we had Father's Day, the focus was on recognizing and honoring the fathers that we had. We were, again, all able to participate because we all have a father (again ignoring the fact that many Fathers had refused to be named on the birth certificate, had walked out on the family, had refused child support). The liturgy and the talk was always about honoring your father.

In my forty years of ministry, the day never became a day to recognize all those who were dads and to have them stand and be recognized. I have never heard any young man complain about being left out or ignored on Father's Day because they have not become a father.

I have been retired now for over eight years so there may have been a change in the way Father's Day is now celebrated and recognized, but I always thought it was interesting how the two celebrates were received and celebrated.