In many ways my father is very old school and traditional. For example, you put on a crisp white shirt and tie to go to church to show your respect. And he always opens the door for a lady to pass through first. But in other ways, my father was way ahead of his time. Long before it became vogue for dads to share parenting and household chores equally, my father was my mom’s partner in the domestic realm. While other dads were still at the office, my dad was driving the afternoon carpool. While other dad’s were playing golf on Saturday, Dad was taking his two girls to the pool or the park or cleaning house to get ready for a party.

My husband and I have a running joke about how he will never quite measure up to my dad. For example my dad always had a sixth sense about when your car might be low on gas and he would grab the keys and go fill it up without you asking. And around the house he noticed what needed fixing before anyone else was bothered by it and he went to his tool bench and repaired it even if the main tool was duct tape.

Looking back on all the ways my father loved his family, I realize that two things stand out to me as most treasured and enduring. One is that Dad is my playmate. As a child that meant playing ping pong, tennis, board games, shuffleboard or water skiing and biking. It didn’t matter the activity. What mattered was the playful spirit of being together. And the other is my dad’s deep character. His honesty, integrity, faithfulness, moral fiber is unparalleled. Regardless of skin tone, economic status, or social location my father treats every human being with deep honor and affection.

This year Father’s Day falls on the weekend of a new federal holiday, Juneteenth. Like my father, Juneteenth was born in Texas where some first encountered the good news of freedom. This reminds me how blessed I have been to grow up in the shadow of a man who embodied for me the truth that God created us all as equals to enjoy the freedom and blessings of this life.

With grace and peace,