Story Details

Fathers and Forgiveness

forgiveness on Family - Father’s Day for them might be less about celebration than about sadness and frustration, if not anger. I frequently meet children on assignment in troubled areas who have been abandoned by fathers. They are being raised by a single parent, extended family, or, most concerning, the street. Sometimes children fare well. Often, I can see loneliness or anger on their faces before they are even old enough to identify the emotion.

My mother's father passed away when she was a child. A memory that she holds onto is being pushed by him in a doorway swing, at an age where you don't remember most things. It's not just not fathers we want to hold onto, but their memories as well - even if it's just a small fabric of time.

Even my father’s childhood home in Cuba was not the most stable place, based on family recollections shared with me. I’ve visited twice and could glean that behind my Dad’s drive for success was, despite an unfailing respect and loyalty for his father, a drive to do better with his own family.

As I’m discovering this now as a dad myself, it’s impossible to be flawless and to provide for every material, emotional and spiritual need of a child. I believe later in life my Dad came to have peace with that, inasmuch as he wanted to excel in all the areas of his life. That as much as I would call him, “The Best Dad in the Universe”, he knew he was just a man who could not be everything for everyone.

So as I think about Father’s Day, I think about celebration but also about forgiveness. Anyone who is a father trying to do right by their children and families realizes how much we need it. We try the best we know how to do, and to give our kids a headstart on life. We learn a lot along the way.

That's not true of everyone, as the statistics suggest. But as a society, with the plague of absent fatherhood, I hope this day of honor can be one of healing as well.

--- Alex Garcia

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