What a Father Does

June 21, 2020

On this day as a society we remember fathers.  We reflect on the experiences we have shared with them and the impact they have had on us.  Fathers, godfathers, grandfathers, adopted fathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, spiritual fathers; all play a role in our development.  We lift them up today and ask God to bless them.

My dad was a behind-the-scenes person.  As a volunteer, he never wanted to be in charge.  He was always the assistant scoutmaster, never the head scout master.  It was just his style.  At Electromotive Division where he worked in La Grange he never wanted to be the boss, he passed on those opportunities.  He just did his job and found satisfaction being able to leave work at work and go home where he could focus on his family.  Our Boy Scout troop was known for hiking.  We often camped in places where there were hiking trails.  At times we would gather after Mass on a Sunday to do 20 miles of hiking on local trails.  What many did not know is that on the trips when we hiked in neighboring states, my dad would hitch a ride to the post office and mail some envelopes back to our house.  The envelopes would receive the post mark from the location of the hike.  Late at his workbench in the basement, he would draw the logo of the hiking trail and paint it on the envelope.  When us scouts graduated grade school, on behalf of our troop, each of us received one of the painted envelopes and inside the envelope was a list of all of the hikes you went on while you were in the troop.  The amount of effort poured into creating these envelopes created a keepsake memory of your experiences with the troop.  It all started with a blank envelope.   It was amazing.

Dads do these kinds of things for their children all the time.  They are about creating memories; they are about reminding their children of experiences shared and they are about connecting on lots of different levels.  In the moment we may not realize it, but later in life when we reflect on these experiences, it is amazing what dads have the ability to do in the lives of us, their children.

I am grateful for my dad.  The time and effort he sacrificed to ensure everyone in the troop felt what they accomplished was amazing.  Today as we honor dads, as we honor all men of faith who have had an impact on us, may we be thankful that they took the time to be with us and for the ways in which they made that time special.

Father John Ouper