Every Daddy is a father, but not every father is a “Daddy”. It takes a special man to be a Daddy.
He loves his children without measure or condition and would sacrifice anything for their welfare.
He spends countless hours with his children, often when it is inconvenient to his own needs.
He’s not afraid to get on the floor and play with his children or get dirty throwing a football in the park. He’s always there with an “Atta Boy!”
He listens to his children in the middle of the night if that’s when they need to share their deepest darkest secret or fear.
He supports his family in whatever way is necessary. He’s not afraid to be involved in family life, helping with homework, cooking a meal, driving carpools.
He mentors his children in the ways of the world, teaching them life lessons. (Of course, most children want to try it on their own, but he makes a concerted effort.) He passes on his special skills.
He shares his faith with his children. He leads by example, showing his children what it means to be a committed Christian. He takes them to Mass with him. He provides the opportunity for formal religious training (Catholic School or Religious Education Classes.)
My own daddy was all these things. And more. At Christmastime, Mom would spend countless hours at the sewing machine making gifts for us. Daddy would keep us busy making (from scratch) decorated Christmas cookies. He even fashioned the cookie cutters himself! We have all passed along the recipe and the tradition to the next generation.
Every morning of my life at home, Daddy made a hot breakfast for the family before going off to work. And at night, when my mom had cooked the meal, he would do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. We each took turns drying the dishes as Daddy washed them. One of my favorite childhood memories was having that alone-time with Daddy every third night. No subject was off-limits. (No one else would come near in case they would get enlisted into helping!)
And a Daddy makes an awesome grandfather! He takes all the attributes of being a daddy and then has the luxury of being more relaxed and patient with the next generation.
My children called my daddy “Papa”. Papa used to pick up my son from half-day kindergarten on Wednesdays. That was their special “Jens” time. (My son was named after my daddy.) They would work in the garage or the gardens, run errands, or just hang out. During their time together, Papa instilled in him life lessons that can only really be taught by example. He taught him what it meant to be a faith-filled man who loved and respected his family.
I grew up in the 50s and 60s, before Vatican II. At that time I believed that God was very stern, strict and unforgiving. I remember when Fr. Steve McCall came to St. Mary’s in 1991. When he celebrated Mass, he always said “ours is a loving and forgiving God”. It was such a revelation to me and, obviously, changed the way I think of God the Father.
When we pray the Our Father, we refer to God our “father” who art in heaven. I believe that yes, he is our father, the father of all creation, but that he is also a daddy to us.
He loves us unconditionally. Just the way we are. After all, we were created in his image and likeness. He forgives our faults and failings.
He is always waiting for us with open arms and a big lap in which we can curl up and have a private conversation. He is always present to listen to us cry out in the night when we are troubled.
He loves us so much that he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up his only Son to secure our everlasting salvation.
He fortifies us with strength and encouragement. He gave us His beautiful world in which to thrive.
He blesses us with fathers who proxy for him in our daily lives here on earth. These fathers, the gift of Our Father, enrich our lives and lead us back to God by their example.