Happy Father’s Day!

My imperfect dad is an instrument of God who teaches love, respect and appreciation. Father’s Day is the perfect time to recall the actionable ways my dad practices fatherhood.

  1. He stays. In staying, he protects and provides for the family. Less than 57% of children can make this claim of their father [US Census]. A father who fails to remain in the home exposes his children to a higher risk of becoming incarcerated, quitting school, committing suicide, and suffering from child abuse. More statistics were compiled here.
  2. Loyal to my mom. He lovingly sacrifices himself for his children through his unwavering commitment to our mother. He is dutiful and honorable; he loathes dishonesty and facade. Their marriage paves the way to a secure childhood.

    “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.”
    G.K. Chesterton

  3. Ushered me out of victimhood. My dad has a saying, “Are you a Schwietert, or a wimp?!” I heard it as a youth when I took a fastball to the chin or was playfully teased. My adult brain recites it during moments of defeat. I am not a helpless victim. I am capable, and my father tells me so. Rather, he asks me. The choice is mine. So cheers to firm confidence, no whining allowed.
  4. Open to changing himself for the better. He’s a fine wine who just gets sweeter with time! (You’re welcome, Pops.) Two years ago he suddenly decided to become Catholic. I assure you, this is nothing short of a miracle from the man who preferred Sunday football over worship. While he missed opportunities to teach me about God, I witnessed such grace the year of his conversion that will sustain for years to come. Total peace.

You might be thinking that your dad is none of these things, and that is ok. Forgive him. Pray for him. Recall his positive attributes and praise him. Keep in mind that no one has a perfect dad. 

For those raised without a father, forgive the absent man. Get to know St. Joseph and never forget that you matter to God the Father.

If you are a father who is lacking qualities listed, have hope. As Christians we are repeatedly called to repentance to our Heavenly Father. The timing is perfect to enact #4. Today, forgive yourself and apologize to your child(ren). Do better starting now.

As Catholics, we honor all fathers today: natural fathers, adoptive fathers, our priests, and our Father in Heaven. If your father is deceased, offer a novena to St. Joseph (patron saint of fathers) in his honor and tell someone about your dad this Father’s Day.

Thank you, dads! And cheers to you, Jeff Schwietert!

Additions to the list are welcome, so drop a comment!  I would love to hear from you!