When I think of the multitude of responsibilities a father carries daily, perhaps the one that encompasses them all is the calling to be an in-the-flesh representation of God. Is there a higher calling? That a man should be expected to give of himself until there is no more? To sacrifice his own ambitions and to replace them with the ones of those submitted to his leadership? To lead those around him through the perfect mixture of words, actions, and display of love and defense?
As I grow older and (hopefully) closer to the stage of life where I am called "daddy", the assurance I have that I will fill these roles well comes from my own two fathers - my father the Creator and my father His hands. The dad who held me as a baby, disciplined me as a child, and challenges me to this day, puts his arm around my shoulders and points into the Heavens and says "not me, son. Him. It is He who leads, guides, directs, calls. It is He who beckons that as men, we die to ourselves and place others before." When my time to lead arrives, I will look to my greatest two examples and merely imitate. Cultures evolve and the challenges that parents face change. But the principles that guide a father's heart began their journey into this world with the first interaction between God and man, and there they remain.
So with those brief thoughts, I express my deepest gratitude to all Godly fathers around the world who give of themselves daily to lead, provide, love, and protect those whom God has entrusted to them. As men, we do not give nor receive words of love and kindness easily. So in our heart language, and on behalf of the countless millions whom you lead, I say that I respect you. We respect you.
Dad, these words would have no place in my heart were it not for you. From my earliest to my most recent memories, you have set the bar in how men are to treat their wives with the love Christ has for His church. You have shown me what it means to raise a child through sacrificial giving and tough love. You spared not the rod (or my ass!) and I am all the better for it. Even now, I find myself checking my actions against yours. You protect fiercely You have my deepest love and respect, today and forever.