Fatherhood Moment

It comes down to a question of being a pourer or being a drip. With prayer and a little planning, effort, courage and tenacity we can be the pourers, the other Christs our Father wants us to be.
by James M. Littleton | Source: Catholic.net

Scenario: The father of a number of children arrives home from work stressed and exhausted. After greeting his wife (we will discuss how this might go in a subsequent column) first one child, then the next in rapid overpowering succession approach him with a joyful greeting and their needs for his attention, their father’s irreplaceable attention. One after the other they have something to tell him about their day, perhaps an experience they had at school. For each it is something of great interest. They have a deep need and desire to share with their father.

 A grand occasion has been presented by God our Father’s good providence. This dad has been given an opportunity to emulate him in virtues such as magnanimity, patience, selfless listening, in giving. Our Father in heaven is a giver by his very nature. He is a pourer, while we can naturally tend to be drippers, or shall we say drips.

First case in point: Dad, is basically a good man with good intentions, but takes no time to pray or to plan how he will live those first moments when he arrives home.  When his children approach him he cuts them off, “Not now, I’m busy!”  The wind leaves their sails. Perhaps the children do not let on that they are disappointed, but the damage is done. The wound has been struck. His children had something important to share with their one and only daddy because of their singular love and respect for him. Yet the opportunity is missed. Though there will be others, this God given opportunity is lost. This providential occasion will never exactly repeat itself. What just happened is locked in time. In this case dad made the grim error of thinking and acting as if there was something more important than providing his full attention to each child for a few moments.

Second case in point: Dad is well aware of his weakness and tendencies. So he has prepared. He took five minutes to pray just before arriving home, shoring himself up with desperately needed graces. He also took time to visualize these most important first ten minutes with his family when he arrives home. He has a plan of what he will do and how he will act. He has made a resolution to serve and to pour himself out, rather than acting like the self-centered drip he knows he can so easily be, instead of expecting to be served. He is barraged with multiple children perhaps one at a time, perhaps more than one at a time, starving for and demanding his attention. It is a little overwhelming, as he struggles with his selfishness, stress and tiredness, but he says a quick prayer for divine assistance and valiantly, manfully holds fast to his resolution and plan. One of his daughters in particular has a story to tell from school that seems to go on and on. The story confuses him, and tests his stamina. Yet, through an act of the will, with divine assistance, he gives his complete, cheerful attention, without interruption, with eyes and ears riveted on this and on each child in turn, until they have had their full opportunity to express themselves. Then one of his daughters, the one that told the longest story, the one that really tested his resolve, gives him a hug and says, “Daddy, you’re the best Dad in the world!”  Though he knows this is not true, he thanks his Father of Mercies for giving him the grace to live these moments well. After all, isn’t this the stuff of life, little moments, opportunities to live love, or to not do so? It comes down to a question of being a pourer or being a drip. With prayer and a little planning, effort, courage and tenacity we can be the pourers, the other Christs our Father wants us to be. 
 “Yahweh, you are our Father, we are the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.”  (
Isaiah 64:7-8)  Father, what a profound word!  Our Father, this how Christ taught us to address our infinite God. We are called and offered the graces to emulate our Father in heaven.  “The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood ….”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2214)

Flash ahead forty years. How quickly they passed! This father’s body lies in his casket at the funeral home surrounded by his family. His life has been poured out. His children pour out their love and praises of their father to each person coming to pay their respects. They all go on repeating to everyone that their father was the best father anyone could ever hope for. He always made time to listen to his children at any cost to himself. “Well done good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:23)

James and Kathleen Littleton, Catholic reverts, speakers, spiritual guides, radio guests, and co-authors of Better by the Dozen, Plus Two, subtitled Anecdotes and a Philosophy of Life from a Family of Sixteen, (available at http://www.lulu.com/littleton) are parents of nineteen children, fourteen living on earth, ages twenty-two to two, and five living in heaven. They are available as speakers or retreat or workshop presenters, individually or as a couple, on a wide range of Faith and Family topics. Their guest appearances on Catholic radio programs include Light of the East, host Fr Thomas Loya; The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio; and Speak Now with Susan Konig on Sirius Satellite Radio the Catholic Channel.  James and Kathleen can be reached with questions, comments or speaking engagement requests at Jimandkathleen@aol.com  God bless you!

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Post a Comment
Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
How interesting!

Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
How interesting!

Published by: CN User
Date: 2009-01-01 10:00:00
How interesting!

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