Are you a good father?

Here's the first sign of a good father: A man who loves and respects his wife, and deeply cares for her.

I worry about that every single day: Am I being a good father?” - Matt Lauer

Are you being a good father? While the question may take some time to sink in, do you know what makes a good father? Of course, you already know the answer to it. Plain and simple, the answer is also found in the story of Joseph, the father of Jesus Christ. The character of Joseph explains it all, the role and characteristics of a good father.

Today's Father's Day. Some may say talking about Joseph sounds like Christmas, as that is the only time when we get to hear or talk about Joseph. Well, it is celebration time and we can have great feasting time on this Father’s Day. But let’s take a moment to look at the story of Joseph and recall the characteristics of a good father as we celebrate the day.

It may be noted that not much is written about Joseph in the Bible. But what little is written about him draws a perfect picture of a good father - the role and responsibilities and the inherent qualities. Which is why the story of Joseph holds significance on Father’s Day.

As written in the Bible, Joseph had a royal lineage but he was a humble, truthful and righteous man, and had great qualities of a good father.

Joseph loved his wife Mary in amazing ways. He lived a life of sacrificial love for Mary. This exemplary story of Joseph and his great love for Mary is the first sign of a good father--a man who loves and respects his wife, and deeply cares for her.

And, Joseph’s wonderful love for his wife is revealed through the story of his son, Jesus Christ.

Although Jesus is the son of God, he lived in the form of man on this earth, with his parents for about 30 years. What he first saw with his human eyes is the exemplary life of his father – the loving care for his wife and mother of Jesus.

Like Joseph, Jesus loved his mother Mary dearly and cared for her deeply. Before he was crucified on the cross, Jesus told his disciples to take good care of his mother when he is gone.

As made known by the story of Joseph, fathers must love, respect and care for the mothers of their children.

The second quality of a good father is seen in Joseph’s reaction when 12-year old Jesus was not to be found for three days. The incident took place when the family went to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Passover. As they returned to Nazareth after the Passover feast, Joseph and Mary could not find Jesus anywhere. Deeply troubled, they went back to Jerusalem to look for their young son. After a three-day-long search, they found Jesus in the Church, engaged in deep conversation with the learned teachers.

Expressing anguish and distress, Mary rebuked Jesus as any mother would. But Joseph calmly led Jesus home with much understanding that Jesus is the son of God and his place is in the Church. Here, Joseph's way of dealing with the situation shows the need to understand our children. As fathers, if we fail to understand and allow our anger to dictate us in our dealings with our children, we will not be able to show love to our children completely.

Like Joseph, the role of a good father is to understand the needs of the children and to treat them with love and understanding.  

Some parents are ashamed of the conduct of their children, while others try to cover up the wrongdoings of their children. Defending the wrong is not the role of the father. The role of the father is to teach their children right. Show the children the right way to live and do things. Laud them when they do right. Correct them when they do wrong.

Yet, another role of a good father is knowing how to spend a good time taking care of his family and providing for them.

When Jesus was a baby, King Herod ordered the killing of babies in his kingdom in an effort to kill baby Jesus, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to faraway Egypt to save baby Jesus and started a new life. After the incident was over, as instructed by God in his dream, Joseph went back to Nazareth with Mary and baby Jesus and started building a new life yet again. Here, Joseph shows the ability to look after his family well. It may not be possible to provide all the needs, but a father must take good care of his family and provide for them.

It may be pointed out that the role of a good father does not apply only for fathers, but also for all. Each and every one must imbibe the good qualities of a good father and carry out the role and responsibilities in our daily dealings with the people around us at all times.

Wherever we go, in all of our work and our conduct, there is a need to reflect the beauty and good qualities of a good father. Also, remember that we have our heavenly father, who is our provider and protector. He is constantly leading us and guiding us. Let the peace and love of God abide with all this Father’s Day and always.

First Published:June 20, 2020, 10:55 p.m.