It is very easy to underestimate the role of an individual in the life of another, particularly when it comes to that of our fathers. The role of the mother as important is a physical ‘given’ as she carries her child in her womb for nine months before usually having a major role in the early years of the child’s life as well. However, there seems to be something that almost works against the roles of fathers in today’s society. So many of the pressures of society have a negative impact on the father’s role including the long hours at work and the pressures on men to be ‘one of the guys.’

It is important for us to recapture the essence of the role of the father if we want to give our children the best chance at having a well-rounded formation, particularly in their early years. I look back to my own childhood, which was not perfect, but the majority of my early memories are with my father: playing while he worked in the garden or did whatever he happened to be doing. I seem to remember myself just hanging around, probably getting in the way more often than not, but having a great time doing it. As I got older the relationship evened out a bit meaning I was able to contribute more and more to whatever we were doing up to the point of being considered an equal. I remember countless discussions about political, moral, economic, sporting etc issues that we conducted as we worked together.

I recount this in order to say that I think it was all-essential to the feeling of self-worth I have today. I have security in who I am because of the acceptance I experienced from my father. Yes, others did the same as him including my mother and teachers at school and other close friends and relatives, but the multitude of memories I have indicate that it was my father’s acceptance and approval that I sought the most, and thankfully received it as well.

As we celebrate Joseph to day we celebrate the foster father of Jesus and the role he would have played in Jesus’ life. Let us pray that we can rediscover and be committed to the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children.

What was my experience of my father as a child? Do I feel that it was lacking? Is there anything I need to talk to someone about here?

Jesus, help me to be grateful for the gift of my parents. Help me also to be a good parent to my children should I have any.