A Father's Day Reflection & Prayer

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Fathering feels like a complicated role.

By that I mean that many of us have individually and collectively expanded our consciousness around issues like patriarchy and toxic masculinity--including the role that religion has played with its dogmatic presuppositions of the superiority of the male species--and in the newly formed spaces of that consciousness-expansion we are left with voids that we are unsure how to fill.

If the traditional roles of men and women, fathers and mothers, have been malformed and made grotesque by patriarchal structures and the oppression of the feminine, then how do we begin to re-imagine what it means to be a Father? Or what it means to father people in light of our new awareness?

How do we name and celebrate and honor the role of the Father without simultaneously re-injuring the wounds of those harmed by the elevation of men over women?

On this Father’s day, I want to do my best to navigate the mine-field of historical harm done in the name of patriarchy so that I can still speak life and beauty and hope to those who take on the role of Father.

So I say this to my fellow Fathers: I believe that in many ways our biggest calling in life is to offer those in our lives a new vision of what it means to Father.

Instead of a cold, distant, unavailable provider, may we embody a soft and present nurturer.

Instead of being consumed with work and giving our families our leftovers, may we trust that the rewards that come from being connected to our people are infinitely more valuable than raises and climbing that ladder.

Instead of passively accepting society’s definition of what it means to be a man, or how we subconsciously objectify women, may we take an active role of modeling a new and better way of being human and treating all people with tenderness and respect.

Fathers, we need you.

We need you to be courageous enough to model humility.

We need you to be strong enough to practice vulnerability.

We need you to be creative enough to forge a new way forward.

Some of us had great models, others had horrible models, and others had no models. But may we not let our past decide for us how we will be in the future. May we accept the calling of Fathering for what it is: holy and meaningful.

This morning I applaud those of you who embody fathering roles—whether with biological, adopted, or symbolic children—I cheer you on and want you to know I believe in you.

You have what it takes. You are enough, and you are worthy.

Happy Father’s Day.