I originally published this post in 2012. Re-published it in 2013, and 2014. During this time, some fathers have been added, and some have passed away. Happy Father's Day in 2015!
A Writer/Naturalist I've greatly admired since 1989, Rick Bass, loves his daughters dearly. In his 2009 book, The Wild Marsh (Four Seasons at Home in Montana) (Wild Marsh) , he ponders the fast and relentless pace of childhood as he watches his children grow.
In the "July" chapter, Bass writes:
"I know I'm doing what I can to slow it down. Reading to them in the evenings, cooking with them, taking them on hikes, and swimming in the mountain lakes.
"Any activity I do with them could be done faster and more efficiently, but only recently have I come to understand that the slower and more inefficiently we do things, the greater is my gain, our gain; the less quickly that galloping stretch of time passes...
"If I'll only watch and listen, they'll show me -- for a while -- how to slow time down: instructing me in a way that I could never otherwise learn from the caring counsel of my friends, and their experiences."
If you are blessed with children, and they are a blessing, I hope you are enjoying them as they are growing through their years; growing through your years.
Over the past 20 years, I've become very verbal when I see Fathers interacting with their children, in positive, caring, and fun ways. Especially when they are outdoors: in the park, at the playground, messing around in the creek, going fishing, watching insects up close, or spotting planets in the night sky. They may be working in the garden with their kids, raking leaves, building a snowman, taking a hike, exploring the woods, or simply balancing on an elevated log:
Whether I'm running, walking, biking, or even driving by, I'll often stop, and announce across the distance, to guys I don't even know, and will never see again:
"WAY TO BE A GOOD DAD!"
I know this great Father. This is Ross Peterson with five of their six adopted children. His good wife Chanda, Home Schools these fine kids. We've known Ross since birth. He was our son Aaron's best friend as they were growing from boyhood into manhood.
I've been doing this small, but important, act of recognition since 1994. Now, I would like all of you to join me in this special mission. Six, simple, one-syllable words to say:
"WAY TO BE A GOOD DAD !"
Give the compliment. Spend it, don't save it. Give it all you've got. Someday it may come back to you.
To the upcoming list of Good Fathers I know, some of the older guys will remember the simple phrase from a "Sweet Baby James" (Taylor) song:
"Shower the people you love with love,
Show them the way that you feel"
And bring them to church with you, so the entire family can get to know Our Father, who art in Heaven...
Some Good Fathers I Know
Tom Blackford Sr. *
Tom Blackford Jr.
John Brillhart *
Peter Draugalis Sr. *
Peter Draugalis Jr. *
William Havenga *
Richard Henkel *
Richard Heroux *
John Keenoy Sr.
Jason Kinzler *
Bob McIntyre *
Lou Palmerlee *
Father Mark Peacock
Carlos H. Rodriguez
Bob Salik *
Jim Taylor Sr. *
Jim Taylor Jr.
Jim Timmer III
Hank Uhlenbrock *
My Father: Richard John Havenga (1923-2006) I Love you Dad.
My only Son: Aaron Richard Havenga (1975-1994) I Love you Aaron. I miss you Buddy.
Aaron would have been an excellent Father, but his Heavenly Father called him home early.
So, can you really slow down the passage of time? No. But there are ways to enjoy the passing of time.
Think: There may not be a next time.
Live each day as if life is a blessing.
Now, my friends, here is the best daughter this world has created, and I thank God that she is my daughter, a true blessing in my life... Sarah Havenga Partin. I love you Sarah.
Remember the six words.
You may also like to read: Journey of a Journal - April 2, 2013.
1. & 2. Home Woods.
3. & 4. St. Andrew's Cathedral, (St. Andrew's) Grand Rapids, Michigan
5. First Home
6. Lake Michigan - Pentwater State Park, Michigan
7. Platte River - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan