I didn't write anything special on Mothers Day but I thought this occasion, the first day of summer and the celebration of fathers, might warrant a few encouragements to the men out there.
I hope that it is common knowledge that fathers are absolutely necessary to the stability of the family. Mothers, sons, daughters, pets - we all want a loving Daddy to protect us, take us on adventures, give us big bear hugs, teach us how to change a spare tire, fix the leaking faucet. But I believe the absolute best thing a dad can do for his kids is love their mother.
Let me say that again: I believe that a father's first responsibility is to the mother of his children. The way a man treats his wife will teach his sons and daughters more about the character of men than anything else he can do. A little girl may be absolutely certain of her father's love for her, but if she observes his neglect of her mom, she will still doubt the faithfulness of her future husband (and perhaps her own worth as a wife). A young boy may respect the way his dad can build a fire or fix a car but if he notices his harsh tone towards mom, he will not learn to treat women with kindness. If we want our children to grow into healthy responsible human beings, we not only need to give them both parental figures but we need those parents to love each other well.
It is all too easy to lavish love on our children and forget our spouses. But a man who can continue to date his wife through the parenting years, who visibly serves her and encourages his children to do so as well, who honors and praises her, who supports the decisions she makes in the home - this man is modeling the nature of being a gentle-man. The kind of gentleman that our culture needs, the kind you'd want your daughter to marry and you'd be proud of your son to become.
So, dads, as we celebrate your vital role in our families today, I pray that you don't just give your kids those tender hugs and kisses but generously shower them on their moms as well.