By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R
The third Sunday in June is the day set aside to honor our fathers — a day that pays tribute to our earthly father. For many people, the man who comes to mind is a grandfather, foster parent, adopted dad, a teacher, or Sunday School leader.
On this day, as all other days, it is important to recognize the contribution our dads made to our families, our communities, and our churches. By observing this day, children have an opportunity to show love and respect to their fathers. Honoring our dads strengthens the bond between the child and father that in turn supports the emotional growth of the child.
Thinking back to a childhood memory, one instance that especially strengthened this bond was holding my father’s hand during times of fear or stress. Because of the hard physical work of painting houses and barns, my father’s hands were always rough. Skin on his muscular hands, usually had nicks and scratches from his labor. As a child, I recall the strength those hands could perform, whether he struggled with simple tools to break up compacted garden soil or lifted wooden beams to build our home.
But then, I also remember the gentleness of those hands when he took my small hand in his while walking to a neighborhood store on a dark night. In times like this, I held on to his hand until we reached a dangerous place in the road. Then, he held on to mine. With his rough, callous hand holding my small one, I felt safe. There was no way my little hand could slip away. I was secure in my father’s grasp. My father protected me and kept me safe.
Likewise, our Heavenly Father holds on to us — in times of joy — in times of hardships. The Bible refers to the word “hand” during times of joy, washing, and joining, Also, the term is used to give honor, power, love, an oath, self-denial, and for fellowship. During times of celebration and happiness, it’s easy to forget to give God the praise for our blessings. When these events occur, we may feel God’s hands on our shoulder and sense, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23, NIV).