In honor of this weekend’s big event – Father’s Day – this is a repost from an earlier blog about father’s and sons.
Will McGruder is a young Amish man who flees his old order Amish community as a teen. His departure causes an immediate and deep rift in the family, especially with his father, Levi. After returning from World War II, Will marries, has children and decides to reconcile with his father.
In the process, Will suffers many great harms and embarrassments. His new family – a non-Amish family – suffers right along with him. The suffering Will endures, at times, leaves the reader asking, “Why is it so important for Will to be reconciled? Why go through the time, expense, and humiliation? Why bother?”
These questions are asked by other characters, too.
Will’s friend, Barefoot, asks him, “Then why do you keep going back? You told me yourself you couldn’t please him, even when you were a kid, before you messed up. What makes you think you can please him now?”
Will shrugged. “I probably can’t, but I promised my brother I’d try. Tobe was right. A man needs somebody to measure himself against, even if he comes up short.”…For whatever reason he (Will) knew that Tobe was right. He would have his father’s blessing if it took the rest of his life.”
Will’s desire reminds me of the struggle of many sons; to struggle to have their father’s blessing. Many men I know try to conquer the world through financial and career success, sexual escapades, machismo, and other pitiful attempts to make the world think we’re important. At the root of it all, sons want to hear from their fathers that they are men; they’ve crosses the threshold; they are special; and they have what it takes to make it in this world.
This was even the case for Jesus, who fortunately had His father’s blessing. Remember the baptismal scene in Matthew and Mark’s gospel? Jesus is baptized by John the baptist, the dove descends, and a voice from heaven says, “This is my son, in him I am well pleased. Listen to him.” What great words! Jesus has a purpose, and He enjoys the confidence of His father. It’s not just fictional characters in Amish fiction who seek their father’s blessing. All men do.
So what should you do?
- If you’re a father, make sure to go out of your way to bless your children. Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book Gift Of The Blessing, The is a great place to start.
- If you’re not at peace with your father, go to him and rebuild your relationship. For most men, this will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. It can start in a simple way: Sit down. Write a letter and say, “Dad, I want to have a better relationship with you. Are you interested?” That one step alone will prove your mettle.
- Go spend a week with your dad. Ask him to tell you his story. Shut up and listen. No rebuttals. I bet you’ll be amazed. Everyone has a story. You won’t know yours until you know his.