Mark Webber, a former Formula One driver, stated that he wouldn’t become a father while he pursued his passion for racing as that would have been too unfair to his children. My father, a petrolhead and excellent rally driver, would have understood that. But he chose the kids. As he watched the cars roar round the track, he would moan ‘I could have been an F1 champion’. And we believed him (of course we did, we were his kids.) And Mum would put him down with: “or dead,” (of course she did, she was his wife). Great as Dad’s passion was, we knew we were more important. I know many men who have given up pursuing passions because it wouldn’t be good for their families. That is part of the sacrifice and discipline of being a father.
Dad had other passions to share: his love of the surf he passed on to every one of us; his love of the bush, his work ethic. Finding another passion that can be shared with your children is part of the sacrifice and discipline of being a father.
Passion, discipline, sacrifice – they sound like great words and they are – they are three of the important qualities of being a father. But when they are lived out they can look very ordinary, like Dad’s moan that he ‘could have been the champion’. Fathers’ love, like God’s love, usually works very quietly, hidden under the routines of daily life. This Father’s Day let us take time to recognise and celebrate not just our fathers but all the men who show their passion in simple, ordinary ways.
God our Father, send us your Spirit that we may recognise the people through whom you show your love. Give our fathers passion, discipline and a spirit of sacrifice that they can truly mirror your love to us. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb