The Cathedral Connection 3 September 2017

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When Father James asked me to write some words on “what it means to be a dad” I had to reflect deeply on the question. Being a dad is hard work and on occasion my two children have even told me that I’m the worst dad in the world! Frankly, I often wonder whether I’m a good enough dad. Am I engaging, supportive, helpful, or spending enough time with my children? Moreover, being a dad means acting as a role model to your children – and that’s a big responsibility. Part of that includes demonstrating enough love, respect, and support toward their mum so when they grow up they will value the important role that women play in their lives and society. Sometimes it’s a matter of checking myself to ensure I’m doing the right thing by them!

Traditional Catholic moral authority says that we can’t or shouldn’t judge good or bad. These are subjective or conscience matters. We can, however, judge whether our actions are right or wrong. Being a dad means teaching our children right from wrong. Having integrity means doing what you know is right, and showing the virtues that are important to you. This includes being responsible so that children know that they can count on you as a dad. It’s about being honest, kind, respectful, grateful or thankful, co-operating with others, and being friendly. It also means showing a wider regard for our communities.

On Father’s Day we shouldn’t forget our own dads. It’s good to identify the qualities in the dad that you know, even those who have died, and cultivate them in yourself; that way, you keep them alive.

As a dad, there are eight letters and three words I tell my children before they go to sleep each night …… I love you.

Nigel Ingram

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