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Ronan Scully: Thank you for being my dad

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I was so lucky and blessed to spend a few days with my dad recently in the company of family members and grandchildren at my beautiful daughters eighth birthday celebrations. A great time of blessing to experience in anyone’s book.

It got me thinking with Father’s day just upon us that the occasion of Father’s Day is special for all of us. It’s a time to love, kiss and hug one of the most precious creations of God – our Dad! Especially for those of us lucky enough to still have him with us. For him, we will always remain the small child but this is the day to visit our Dad, spend time with him, hold his hands and reassure him of our love and care.

Father’s Day holds great significance for most of us. It’s that time of the year to let your father know that no one loves him more than his own children and grandchildren. It’s a time to be grateful to your father who in most cases can be one of the most loving, kind-hearted, understanding and caring person in your life. So this weekend celebrate Father’s Day with non-stop surprises. Father’s Day poses as a great opportunity to pamper your father for all that he has done for you over the years.

You can never repay the debts, but on Father’s Day, you can create a magical place for your father to be delighted and fly high on love and life. In writing about Fathers’ Day, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on what has inspired me to become the type of father that I am. It’s only natural to think of my own Daddy, Ricey. You see my Daddy takes great pride in being a guide to all of his children. He is a hard working man who has found some success in different aspects of his life. He made a gigantic effort to teach us everything that he knew; and he encouraged us to learn even more about real life as we set-out on our own unique journey’s.

You see being a father means that you are one of the most important guides to your children. They will follow your lead, consider your opinions and learn from your example. Knowing this, I must be an example today that will help prepare my children for tomorrow. I might not always get it right but I must try for their sake’s.

Father Figures
I also believe that the father-figures in my life, like uncles, teachers, colleagues, neighbours and sport trainers have helped me to understand that one of the most important things that I must strive to be is a good role model and put selfish interests aside and make a sincere effort to do the right thing. To make intelligent and thoughtful decisions that will benefit all who may be affected. Being a father has helped me to learn how to care for the less fortunate and those who need assistance at times. And I have learned that fathers unconditionally love those who need the strong support of someone who sincerely cares. You see, just as many of the men in my family have been an example for me, I see my job as a father to be a strong role model for my two daughters, Mia and Sophie. As usual a story might help us better to understand the love between a father and his child.

A Father’s Love
This teenager lived alone with his father due to the sudden loss of their most favourite person in the world their wife and mother, and the two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the subs bench for the school hurling team, this father was always at the games. This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered secondary school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play hurling if he didn’t want to. But the young man loved hurling and decided to hang in there. He was determined to try his best at every training session. All through secondary school he never missed training or a game, but always remained a sub.

When the young man went to university in Maynooth, he decided to try out for the Fitzgibbon hurling team. Everyone was sure he could never make the panel, but he did. The manager at the time was the great retired Limerick Hurler, Fr. Liam Ryan who admitted that he kept him on the panel because he always puts his heart and soul into every training session, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed. The news that he had made the panel thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and said he would go to all the games.

This persistent young hurler never missed practice during his four years at university, but he never got to play in any of the championship games. It was the end of his senior hurling season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big championship game, the manager Fr. Liam Ryan met him with a text message. The young man read the text message and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to Fr. Liam, “My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss training today?” The manager Fr. Liam Ryan put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, “Take the rest of the week off. And don’t even plan to come back for the game on Saturday.

Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the second half, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty changing room and put on his hurling gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, Fr. Liam and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon. “Fr. Liam, please let me play. I’ve just got to play today,” said the young man. Fr. Liam pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this big championship game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the young man, Fr. Liam gave in. “All right,” he said. “You can go in.”

Before long, Fr. Liam, the players and everyone in the crowd could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked and tackled like a modern day Sean Silke. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this young man intercepted a pass and ran all the way towards the opposition’s end of the field before pointing for glory. The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you’ve never heard!

Finally, after the crowds had left and the team had showered and left the changing room, Fr. Liam Ryan noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone. Fr. Liam came to him and said, “Young man, I can’t believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?” He looked at Fr. Liam, with tears in his eyes, and said. Well, you knew my Father died in the last few days, but did you know that my Father was blind?” The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, “My Father came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!”

A Father’s Day Prayer
A lovely prayer by Kirk Loadman that I like to pray now and then goes as follows, “Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father. Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.

Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing. Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children’s love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child with even greater love in their heart and soul. Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own. Let us praise those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors, teachers and guides. Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children. And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us.”

Thought for the week
As your thought for the week make your Father feel the most special man in the world by showing your care, love and affection. To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors. We all know, how our parents cared for us over the years and gave us every little thing that we ever needed. Love them, respect them, and care for them. Most of all let your Father know how much you love him not just for Fathers Day but for all time. In being a Father to Mia and Sophie I have learned how to be a better listener, to be more compassionate, tender and patient. However, the most important thing that I may have learned from being a father is to be respectful.

I believe being a father has helped me to better respect the gift of life, the people and friends in my life and the people around me whom I come into contact with. Writing this thought for the week has helped me to realize that Fathers’ Day is so much more than a celebration of fathers. It’s a celebration of all of the people in our lives like our parents, our wives, our friends, and the father figures who help father’s carry out their important role each and everyday. So be truly grateful for your father and for the other father-like figures that have selflessly supported you in your life. Finally to my Dad, Ricey, for all the things you’ve led me and my siblings through and taught us. And for promising me that you will never leave me. Through and through you’ve shown me the ropes, Helping me in anything and everything I face, Everyday you’re there for me by simply calling your name. Rarely do I get to thank you enough. So on this special day, I do exactly that. Thank you for being my Dad!

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