KFC CHICKEN ‘FIX’ AND FATHERING AND FAMILY
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke, Chapter 15, Verse 20)
Hello dear family and friends. Blessings from the ‘deke.’ That’s what one of my RCIA Adult Faith Class students used to call me: ‘deke!’ Her last name is Sweeney by the way – but she’s not related to the Sweeney’s of Catholic Family Podcast fame. At any rate – thanks for taking the time to read or skim this unusual sounding deacon’s column. What in the world do KFC Chicken and fathering have to do with one another? Here goes.
We have just returned from a trip to the majesty and beauty of Colorado – our old stomping grounds. Thanks be to God, we sold our home back there… a truly bittersweet experience. On our return trip through the southwest, we stopped for a meal at KFC. Now I don’t often eat this food – it probably is not good for me. But like a junkie – I need a KFC ‘fix’ about two times a year. Our drive brought us to Cortez, Colorado, and on the outskirts of town, we stopped for an evening meal.
A very large family gathering came in just after us – maybe upwards of fifteen folks. They ordered buckets of chicken and sides and drinks. A father and his son happened to sit in the booth directly behind my back – so I couldn’t help hearing parts of their conversation.
At one point, the dad said to his young boy something like this, “You like the taste of that soft drink – but what you really need to do is drink lots of water. Young children need lots of water… water helps your roots so you can grow up to be tall and strong like a tree.” Wisdom of the ages – passed from a father. Okay – so we may discuss or quibble about whether they should be eating KFC fried foods or drinking pop at all. But the point that came to me was that simple wisdom of father mentoring a son. I wasn’t close enough to hear much of any conversation of the women as they sat with young girls – but I’d bet there was the wisdom of the ages happening over there at those tables. Ever since I started listening to Catholic Family Podcast – I recognized a wholesome family dynamic at work. In David, there is the example of God the Father. The father loves and cares and leads. The young ones are raised in a setting that demonstrates what fatherhood really means. They will come to understand the love of a father even when dad has to say, “Luke – I love you… I don’t like what you did at all, but I love you.” And Luke Sweeney (or others raised in this model) will then come to understand that the Father may even have to mete out punishment for an improper action… Luke will come to understand consequences. Luke will come to understand growth. Look back at the recent podcast about how Luke was given guidance about taking small steps to become a man. The quote I placed at the beginning of this column is from another Luke – the Gospel writer who brought us so many examples of the love of a father… a love that helps to make a family into a unit of love and common vision. Now if we who know this – if we who intuit that this is true – if we could apply this model to all of our thinking… we wouldn’t have any fussing about the importance of the (male) shepherd in our parish as the father of the local flock. We’d also be able to see the importance of the bishop as the father of the ‘local church.’ And for sure, we’d be wise enough to see the beauty of Papa Benedict who recently brought such joy to we who understand that the Catholic Church is the ‘family of God’ and that B XVI is the earthly head of the family. None of this means an end to the importance of women in the family unit. Not at all. This eleventh of May will bring us Mother’s Day – God bless you dear mothers. The earthly Mother of Jesus must have touched the heart of the Gospel writer Luke. He is the only one who came to Mary and asked her for stories of the birth of her son and of the early years in that family. We know – we honor you mothers. But let us recognize and affirm the importance of fathering to the family according to God’s plans. June 15th will bring us Father’s Day. For Father’s Day – dads be at home. Be attentive. Be caring and loving. And help your offspring to understand the importance of water… the gift on earth of water… and the gift of eternal water – the water promised by Jesus. Blessings.Deacon Tom @ www.deacontomonline.com