Father’s Day 2012

The following is an excerpt from a book by Gregory Spencer entitled Awakening the Quieter Virtues:

One of the louder virtues in American culture is efficiency. It's what makes the clock of capitalism tick. We are remarkably skilled at getting things done, at thinking "yes, we can," and then putting forth our best effort to accomplish many tasks in a short time. Often efficiency serves us well. But this way of valuing time can tick-tock into our worldview, leading us to measure everything by the stopwatch. Time: we march against it, beat it, save it, manage it, spend it, and try not to kill it or waste it. If efficiency becomes a dictator instead of a servant, generosity is usually oppressed. We feel we must fill days with industrious busyness.

When my daughters were young, I too frequently bemoaned how little time I could give to writing. One friend said, "Your girls will only be toddlers once. Don't worry so much about being productive." Another friend gestured to my daughters and said, "Spence, here are your publications!" These friends encouraged me to view time…by the opportunity presented, time according to what the season calls for. Time well used…is time that appropriately meets the needs of the moment, not…time measured by the demands of the clock.

I can certainly identify with the impulse to wish the hours away.  Last week I was out of town.  That means a whole week of freedom from morning routines and bedtime routines.  I looked after myself and no one else. [Except for the occasional play session with my nephew, which doesn’t count.] So, this week, it’s been so much easier looking after my kids.

But, normally, when every night is the same crazy routine of getting kids through dinner, homework, baths, stories and into bed, I find myself longing for the time when they’ll be more independent. And yet I know: Conventional wisdom says, “Be careful what you wish for. You’ll miss this once it’s gone.”

And, when I can hear that and accept it, I do a better job realizing that these kids are one of the few really important things I’m doing in this world.

As we get ready for Father’s Day, I’m just hoping to remind those of us who are dads just how important a role it is.  May God help us do our best at it.