Extolling the Virtues of Fathers – Past & Present
I’ve heard it said that it is much easier to become a father than to be one. Scientifically speaking, this is true. It is also true that the words and lessons handed down to us by our fathers as quiet whispers in the privacy of our homes, become much more than that when they, by posterity, are passed through the sieve of generations. On this Father’s Day we celebrate honoring fathers and fatherhood, and the influence they have had on us. For members of the Rockfish Chapter D.A.R., (Daughters of the American Revolution) Father’s Day holds sway over them, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think. I will use a quote by Richard Llewellyn from his 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley to illustrate.
I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I
looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond. And their eyes were my eyes.
It is valuable to have a sense of history in regards to our forefathers. It gives us a record of perspective through life’s events, situations, and consequences thereof. It can help us make wiser choices and mold us if we learn from the successes and failures of those who have gone before.
Being a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution means you have a proven lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. This means most members have a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather who fought in the Revolutionary War. Now that’s a lot of history to digest and quite a list of fathers who lived their lives and died with plenty of advise and counsel to bequeath to us. If only we could listen, what would we hear? Perhaps the following would echo back through the ages.
Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country. (Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788)
There are several theories behind when and where Father’s Day originated. One thing is for certain; fathers have been around for thousands of years inculcating, we, their children, with everything from how to till a field to how to throw a knuckle ball. Will we remember the lessons learned from our fathers and pass them down to our children and they to their children? Or, as time has a way of so often doing, will we lose track of what Great-Grandpa Cole imparted to Grandpa Earl on his knee one wintry morning…lost forever to the dusty annals? Time passes at breakneck speed. Will the lessons learned, the sentiments expressed, the virtues extolled, be relinquished to digitized pages on a computer or will we hold our forefathers words in high esteem. Only our great-grandsons and daughters will tell. I leave you with this quote from a father not so long ago.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. (1961- Ronald Reagan)