Father’s day undoubtedly means different things to different people. It’s not universally marked by society or the Church in the way that Mothering Sunday is; yet still it gives us all a chance to reflect on fatherhood and a father’s role in his family and in wider society. Here, Craig Bowman, the URC’s secretary for ministries, explains what fatherhood means to him.
“A little over five and a half years ago my son, Thomas (now nine) was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome, and the world changed as we began to grasp the implications for him – and for us.
“The first few days and weeks that followed were undoubtedly a time of mourning as I realised what had been lost. Those dreams that I held for my son, and what he might be, were blown away as we realised that, however good my wife and I were in providing him with the tools he needs for living, there would always be so much beyond his capability, and he would probably never achieve independent living.
“There are still times when I’m sad at what I will not see him become, but I also realise that I was in danger of valuing my son for what he could do rather than loving him for who he is and delighting in what he achieves. This is good reformed theology – we are not loved by our heavenly father for what we do or might yet do, but because, quite simply, each one of us is his child.
“Does this mean I have no hopes for Thomas? Of course not. There is so much that I hope he will achieve and dream that he will do, but I know that his true worth, to me, to the world, and to God lies not in what he does but in who he is – a beloved child of God. Helping Thomas to know and feel this is surely at the heart of fatherhood and something for all fathers to aim for every day of the year – and perhaps something to reflect on this Father’s Day.”
For more information on Fragile X Syndrome, please go to the The Fragile X Society website.
Photo shows Craig and Thomas canoeing in South Carolina last year