#21 in the Judging a Photograph Series
. This is the second blog in a series of two faith blogs for this week.
We’ve always looked down our noses at Father’s Day because it was invented by Hallmark Cards – or that’s the allegation, anyway. I have no evidence this is true. If it really was invented by a greetings card company then somehow it seems cheesy and not authentic. Compare it to Mothering Sunday, which is an actual part of the church calendar in Lent. And as it’s a man’s world, do Fathers really need a day?
These sneering dismissals of Father’s Day begin to fall down pretty quickly if I look closer.
In favour of Father’s Day
Firstly Father’s Day has as much right to exist in the calendar as Mothers Day. Mothering Sunday did not used to be a celebration of Mothers; I blogged about this a few months ago. The American Mother’s Day actually came first. Later it was adopted in the UK and linked into the Lent celebration of the Mother church. So we can’t honestly knock Fathers Day on the grounds it’s an American import.
Secondly the existence of Father’s Day is not an obstacle for feminists or even overstretched mums. Yes, in plenty of families it is Mum – or one parent – who is working harder at parenting than the other parent. Whatever your personal family dynamic is, you can choose WHAT you do and HOW MUCH of it you do on Mothers Day and Fathers Day as appropriate. You’ll have to justify these choices to your kids, which is no bad thing. In my family I get cards, gifts, a trip out and a day off from cooking on Mother’s Day. My husband gets cards and chocolate on Father’s Day then it’s pretty much back to normal after breakfast. More about this later.
Thirdly, just because it’s not a Christian festival like Mothering Sunday it doesn’t mean Jesus is uninterested in Father’s Day. You may or may not be interested in Jesus but that’s a separate point! In church on Mothering Sunday we give thanks for Mothers but Father’s Day doesn’t normally get a mention. I’m not suggesting we must change this but I do suggest that some Christians could think a bit more deeply about Fathers Day.
It’s not a religious festival but …
On Father’s Day this year we will take a moment to show our appreciation for Dad by writing words of love in a card. We will hug him, take him breakfast in bed and give ourselves a moment to appreciate him. We might make a special effort to be helpful and bring a bit of happiness into the day. Does this sound like the sort of thing that Jesus would do? Of course it does. Jesus must be delighted with Father’s Day.
People in the Bible frequently refer to God as Father. This helps us to understand how God sees us as his children; doting, forgiving, abundant in love. It’s hard for people who have had a difficult relationship with a Dad to get comfortable with this idea. Yet even then we know what a good Father should be like. We are hard wired as humans to appreciate a good dad and to be hurt by a bad one.
Giving hope as well as thanks
What about the very average dads? The ones who have good days and off days? Or maybe like us you have a dad who just doesn’t get home from work very much? I think these are the moments to build these dads up. Father’s Day also functions as an encouragement to dads. It says thank you for all the times you’ve been great, and we know there will be more of those times. People change when they are given hopeful messages like this.
If we invent a day or anniversary to celebrate, appreciate or encourage other people, it doesn’t matter if the original motivation was to build a greetings card empire. If there’s no love, it won’t take hold of your heart. But this year we will celebrate dads a little better in my family. I can’t think of any good reason to hold back the love.
Photo: On the edge at Wotton-Under-Edge
I took this photo of my husband and children on a walk above Wotton-under-Edge. The southern ridge of the Cotswolds falls away sharply, almost like a cliff edge. This is the “edge” in the name of the town. The view towards Bristol and the Severn Estuary is long and fairly flat. When I took this photo I really wanted to show off the effect of the edge falling away and the view appearing. I use a small aperture to get it all in focus and I crouch down slightly low. This gave me the angle to get the whole vista stretching up to near the top of the frame.
When I edited the photo the top section was too bright so I used a graduated filter to dim it. Also the whole of the top half of the image has had the clarity (structure) heavily boosted. I don’t think it looks too processed but has saved a nice image.
It’s a lovely Daddy moment captured for Father’s day, with him helping the girls make friends with the horse. The edge of this horse’s field is so steep, it must be a pretty clever animal not to wonder off the edge in the dark.
I tried to take a few more photos of the sunset over the Severn estuary from the field, and the horse wondered into my shot, which was nice. If you’d like to know where this is, take a look at this walking blog. It’s the view from the bench by the Wellington Trees.
Read the previous blog on the Judging a Photograph Series by clicking here.
The Judging a Photograph Series can be read from the start by clicking here.
Read more faith-based analysis by clicking here.