Mitch Albom is a best-selling author (e.g., the international best-sellers Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven), journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in his earlier career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays, and films. Although Albom‟s works present moral ideas, I can‟t speak to his spiritual condition. He did, however, write a short article for Father’s Day a couple of years ago titled “When did fathers become expendable?” In his article Albom described what happened in a verbal exchange that occurred on The View, an ABC morning show with a huge female-viewing audience:
“A guest host, an actor named Terry Crews (“Everyone Hates Chris‟), had floated the idea that “there are some things only a father can give you.” He was deluged by objection—both on social media and on the set. When he said, “A father gives you your name,” cohost Whoopi Goldberg joked, “Like in The Lion King?” When he said “a father gives you your security” and “your confidence,” cohost Jenny McCarthy, who is raising a son on her own, shot back, “I’m a single mother and I guarantee you, I can give (my son) all those things.” The debate went on for several minutes at a high volume, with the female hosts paying homage to widows, single moms, and gay couples, and McCarthy hammering at the idea that her “amazing” son needs no man.”
Albom pondered how far we’ve come, that on network TV a man suggesting “there are some things only a father can give you” is greeted not with agreeing nods but with cannon fire. He offered the following analysis: “What does a father bring to the table? I can cite a few things I got from my own: Strength. Quiet confidence. Discipline. Responsibility. And love—all displayed differently than my mother, which was fine. My father also taught us how to be a husband, how to respect a woman, when to lead and when to support. It’s true, not all men are like my dad. But plenty are. And fatherhood didn’t suddenly, after thousands of years, lose its value. It may be trendy to dismiss dads as little more than fertilizer, but it’s not true. In fact, it’s pretty foolish. Such is our world, where a comment like Crews’ brings a tsunami. Funny thing is, I remember someone from my childhood frequently saying, ‘He needs his father to do that.’ It was my mother.”
The reason I share Albom‟s thoughts with you is because this month we will celebrate Father‟s Day. I know that Father‟s Day, like Mother‟s Day, can be a bittersweet experience, if your experience with your father was/is not a good one or your father is no longer present. Just let me say in keeping with the upcoming day of celebration that if you are a father, be the best father you can be; your children will honor you. If your father is around, tell him you love him and/or you are praying for him. If your father is no longer available, honor him by being the best version of yourself that you can be.
I think Albom is right: dads get a bad rap today in many circles. I can also identify with him in how he characterized his father: Strength. Quiet confidence. Discipline. Responsibility. And love. Mine too. To that list I would also add: Support. Friendship. And encouragement. My dad will be 96 years old in just 2 months. I am blessed to have him as my father. I love him, respect him, appreciate him, and treasure my time with him…just as I do my heavenly Father.
This month honor your earthly father and your heavenly Father with all you got! Both will be impressed if you do.
Blessings from your friend and pastor,