Honoring Your Father (and Mother)

This weekend is Father’s Day in which we celebrate father figures and the important role they play in families. June is also National Fathers Awareness Month, which highlights the importance of fatherhood. But this year something really bugs me. Why have we lost focus on the importance of fathers? I’d suggest we return to honoring fathers as much as we do mothers. Both are important to children, families, and society so let’s build up and respect good dads just as much as we do moms.  

OK, I may be more sensitive this year after losing my dad last April and my mother several years ago. Maybe I’m still grieving. But Father’s Day and Mother’s Day is important to me. Not just because I am a parent, but to remember my parents. It’s also a day to honor my in-laws, who continue to show our family what love and marriage is like in the later chapters of life. Parents are to honored forever.

Fathers Still Matter!

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, the dad is critical to his children’s success. NFI reports that 17.8 million children, nearly 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. That’s enough children to fill New York City twice or Los Angeles four times over. Research shows that a father’s absence affects children in many unfortunate ways. It also shows that a father’s presence makes a positive difference in the lives of both children and mothers. NOTE: NFI has some great some infographics you can download here about The Crisis of Father Absence in America, The Strengths of Father Presence, Factors that Predict Father Involvement, Why Involved Dads are Good for Moms, and Facts about fatherless in America.

Please indulge me a but as I tell you about my father with a similar post to honor my mom from a few years ago.

About My Dad

Richard R. Gorecki, Sr. was born in the city of Chicago on November 30, 1938 and passed away on April 7, 2023. He was raised three children in Romeoville with his former wife, June before they moved in 1977 to Plainfield where dad resided until his death.

Dad was a proud U.S. Marine. He had a long career in the printing/ink industries, working for Thiele-Engdahl and Sun Chemical Corporation before retiring in 1988. Even before I decided to enter the same field, he often said, “Son, don’t get into the industry. It will cause you to become an alcoholic and give you a heart attack!” After beating both colon and prostate cancer, followed by double bypass heart surgery, an aggressive lung cancer that spread to his brain and not a heart attack ended his life.

Dad lived a full and active 84 years. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved archery, hunting, fishing, and camping. Dad also enjoyed Harley-Davidson motorcycles; even riding his Ultra Tri-Glide until the fall before his passing. He was a member of the Plainfield American Legion Post #13 and Legion Riders where he was known to many as just “Pappy”. Dad was liked by everyone.

You Become Like Your Parents

As I reflected on how to honor my Dad this Father’s Day, I recall how proud he was of his career. He started working as an apprentice at a small printing company, where he ran a letterpress. He said that he tried to move up to the offset pressroom but he was too good so they held him back. Dad eventually left that company and spent the majority of his career as a sales & service ink technician, assisting many gravure pressrooms over the years.

Dad was a very social guy and made friends with many of his bosses and customers. He always said he missed his job and joked, “I wish I could go back to work.” I don’t really think he meant it. But I heard from many who attended his memorial services that he had a big impact on many of them.

I know from experience about the lasting impression of a father. My dad impacted my career choice, how social of a person I am, my fidelity in marriage, and how I parent. My brother followed in dad’s footsteps as a proud Marine and also worked in a print-related field. Our sister was a nurse who adored dad. While it was tough for him to show it, he loved his kids and grandchildren.

Our father was not perfect; none of us are. But each of us would say we have some of dad’s strengths and have learned from his weaknesses. We are all better because of our him. 

God Commands to Honor Your Parents

As I wrote in the post about my mom, we are commanded to honor and respect our parents. Thousands of years ago on a mountain of Sinai, God gave Moses Ten Commandments which included the fifth one to “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12.)

This commandment obligates us to respect and obey our parents (or anyone who takes the place of parents) and you will have a long and fulfilling life. Scripture also says that your children will honor the follower of the commandments. This implies that if you do not honor your parents, your own children may not honor you.

So learn to honor your parents; not just on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, but every day. You never know how it will impact your children.

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