The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Our 50 Father's Days

A son looks back on a lifetime with his dad

If I’m counting correctly, Dad, this is your 50th Father’s Day—a half-century of paternal wisdom passed down to your three sons.

Beginning in April in the mid-1950s, my brothers and I came along like clockwork in two-year intervals. We made you the Fred McMurray of East Brainerd in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Bob Honeycutt had his hands full on
Bob Honeycutt had his hands full on Father’s Day 1959, holding Lee and coaxing smiles from Frank (center) and Mike for a keepsake photo.
Thanks for all the time you spent with me as a child—for teaching me how to throw a baseball and to run a convincing “buttonhook.” For explaining the fine art of the “bump-and-run” chip shot with a seven iron and how to catch a wave just so at the beach. For shooting all those baskets in the driveway and playing H-O-R-S-E until the floodlights came on. For forgiving me when I wrecked the car. For the honest “sex talk” when I was shy and didn’t really want to talk about it.

Our home was a safe place to grow up. I don’t want to be overly romantic and pretend that ours was a family free from problems —you’ve been a Lutheran Christian all your life and know what a lie that would be. But you and mom did provide a place to grow and discover and learn, even from failing. And for that I am truly thankful.

But here’s the thing. Have you ever noticed? As a nation is rightfully grateful this month for the sacrifices of fathers across the land, recall what Jesus said: “Don’t think that I’ve come to bring peace to the earth. I haven’t come to bring peace, but rather a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother” (Matthew 10:34-35).

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