Dads are not overrated.
This is not Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad summary. But I’m talking about my father below and Father above.
I’m reminded of an ancient letter to the Hebrews that said, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”
“They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
Here are the three major values among many that I learned from both of my human father and Divine Dad.
1. Have the Discipline for Life.
Yes, indeed, “we have all had human fathers” but every dad has his own idiosyncratic strengths and weaknesses in dealing with their own child.
Generally, fathers are symbols of maleness, authority, and strength in the family. But there are also fathers who are confused with their personality, without moral ascendancy, and weak.
My earliest memories of my late father were almost ideal. He worked so hard to make ends meet and put food on the table. Yet in all of this busyness, I inherited from him the most precious thing of all: quality time.
Of course, he is a father “who disciplined us” as his children. He did not spoil me. He is both tough on principles and tender in love. He raised me with godly authority and fatherly patience. No wonder, I love him above anyone else in the family.
2. Have a Deep Admiration for Fathers.
I’m not a father’s boy, but I’m the boy inside who loves his father dearly. I’m very grateful to be raised by the man I love.
As such, when I’m disciplined as a kid by my father, I do not have any resentment, anger, or any sense of rebellion.
Perhaps my two sisters could also say the same that “we respected [him] for it.”
In my countless pastoral counseling, I have observed that the earliest image of God among children and adults is that of their fathers. And this is true for me too.
While many children have absentee and abandoning fathers or have suffered at the hands of abusive dads, thereby struggled in picturing God as “father,” a child nurtured by a good-natured father like mine could easily respond to revere God.
“How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”
After living in my own folly for a while, the love of my father won me back to get right with my Father above. I still chose life, love, leadership, and laughter because of him.
For me, my late father, Eleuterio C. Plastina, Sr., is my early picture of God. It’s not that I worship him but he showed me who God is through his life of sacrificial love, compassion, integrity, and uprightness.
I respected my father for his deep faith in God. A very prayerful man, I have seen miracles when he prayed. The greatest miracles of which is when God changed my life when I was lost.
It was a loving father’s love and prayer that brought me back to God, my Father in heaven.
3. Have a Devoted Life for God.
I am who I am today because of my earthly father who is already with my Father above. I’m very grateful for God who chose my father to give me life, raise and nurture me as I am.
Who said only mothers know best? Well, both of my fathers did.
“They [fathers, including my father] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
I’m blessed to have a father who embodied the love for God and compassion for people. My father was far from perfect, but his upright life is an earthly image that clearly defines who my Father is in heaven.
My father’s tender love and tough stand on godly principles remained in my life. He taught me as a child to love the stories from the Bible of which I shed rivers of tears as it spoke to my heart.
When I was wrong, my father corrected me. He forgave but I also have to learn to face the consequences of my actions.
No wonder, right after I was 16, I was able to stand on my own and became independent, left our house, and lived far away from home.
I believe, he did not worry whether his son would do the right thing or do things right because he did his best while he can. And I did not disappoint my father’s trust.
Now, my two fathers are together. I once told my earthy dad, “If ever you’ll go ahead of me…I’ll be there someday.”
But now, I know, you have the happiest Fathers Day ever for you are with our Father of eternity.
I love you, Pa. And I miss you very much.
Glenn Plastina (c) 2017