When I was a child my father often called me to help him with a task. Sometimes it was holding a board he was sawing. Another time, he wanted me to help plant corn in the family garden. And I recall numerous times I was requested to sit on the ice cream freezer, holding it down, while my father turned the hand crank as the custard hardened.
Looking back, I realize he could have accomplished all these things by himself. But with his daughter nearby we could talk and laugh together. During these times, he shared stories from his parents and grandparents that I still recall today. It wasn’t my skills he needed; it was my presence.
This Father’s Day, instead of the fancy package with beautiful paper and ribbon, how can we honor those men in our lives who have given us so much? By giving them our time; give experiences, not things. You are blessed if your father is still with you; otherwise, honor his memory. Could some of these ideas work for your father?
- Plan a mini-vacation or getaway weekend. Does your dad enjoy the outdoors? Would a fishing trip to a beautiful lake or stream be of interest? Catch an early sunrise. Marvel at the setting sun. Forget about time and just enjoy being together.
- Rent an RV or travel trailer and hit the road. Cook your food over an open fire and spend hours talking. Plan a daily devotion time and thank God for giving you this Christian dad. One father said, “Hearing my son pray for me was one of life’s greatest blessings.”
- Sign up for a class you would enjoy together. Learn a new craft. Local colleges and universities offer non-credit classes on a variety of topics. If you’re planning to travel to another country, enroll in a language class together.
- Volunteer with your dad to help those in your community who have special needs. Do you know someone who needs a wheelchair ramp so they can become more independent? Are there people who need transportation to church? Jesus tells us to serve one another. Matthew 20:28 says, “ … just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve … .”
- Attend church this Father’s Day and sit in a family group. Enjoy a potluck meal or meet afterward at a favorite restaurant. Reminisce and tell family stories so the younger generation will know their ancestors. Thank God for giving you a dad who has made a positive impact on your life.
- Write a personal letter, thanking your father for the hard work he has done in giving you a good life. Thank him for providing a Christian home and setting an example of what God expects from a husband and father.
- Make a collage of photos from his life. Include early pictures from his childhood, your father and mother with your siblings, and other relevant memorabilia. Place in a frame and hang in a place of honor.
- Adopt a pet. Research shows that people who own a pet are happier and have a greater interest in life. Help your dad choose a pet from a local shelter and give a furry friend a forever home. Select one that meets his physical requirements: Does he enjoy hiking or walking and a dog would be a good companion? Or would he prefer a dog or cat that wants to curl up in his lap for an afternoon nap?
- If your father has gone on to be with God, honor his memory by a service project in your church or community. Or give a donation in his memory to your church or his favorite charity. In doing so you will keep his memory alive so others will know him too.
In praise of fathers, Billy Graham once said, “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Often our dads do not receive the praise they have earned, yet a Christian father can be instrumental in teaching his children to walk with God. One of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12) says, “Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Giving the gift of your presence is the best way to wish dad a “Happy Father’s Day.” Your time is your most precious gift!