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Father’s Day 2011

Working out in my garden yesterday, I inadvertently witnessed/eavesdropped on a lovely father-child series of moments – aka father-love-in-action. A van pulled up at the fountain standing at the end of the Avenue, our “main street” if you will. A family piled out — grandparents, mom and dad — but not the toddler who was loudly and steadfastly refusing to remove herself or be removed from her car seat.

I could hear her grandma coaxing and cajoling — to no avail. The little miss did NOT want to get out and look at the fountain — or at anything else apparently.

Enter dad. First he promised a “fast ride in the stroller.” Nope.

Then he tried bribery of more delicious sort — if she got into the stroller, she could have some fruit snacks. Still no movement from the car seat.

Firmness was the next tactic employed. “You need to let daddy take you out of the car seat. It is too hot to sit in the car.” Not the magic key to unlock her resolve.

“Do you want to ride on Daddy’s shoulders?” Done!

Daddy lifted her out of the van, put her on his shoulders and “galloped” over to the fountain — to the squeal of delight of his small daughter.

The family walked around the fountain, found the Providence paver that interested them, and walked over to visit the outdoor statue of Saint Mother Theodore before I finished my gardening chores and went inside.

But the whole experience stayed with me through yesterday and today. I marveled at the patience, versatility, persistence and quietness of the father as he dealt with his (probably) 2-year-old daughter’s resistance.

The words “there’s no reasoning with her” came to my mind; one can’t reason with a 2-year-old. But there was in that father clear loving of her. I reflected on the scene this morning during my prayer time and realized that I saw lived into action Saint Paul’s words recorded in the letter to the Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind. … it is not quick-tempered. … Love never fails.”

Clearly here was a father whose own journey in life and his cooperation with God’s grace allow him to put himself in the place of the other — a 2-year-old at that — and find a way for the little one to cooperate with joy. Yes it took work; yes it took patience; yes it took an array of efforts before the way forward opened. Yes, it took a man who seemingly understands from a very deep place in himself that fathering is on-going, that fathering is challenging, that fathering is an act of versatile loving. What a fortunate child our little toddler is!

The Sisters of Providence wish all fathers a very happy Father’s Day! Please count on our prayer for you as you journey with your children on whatever paths Providence has marked out for you.

Sister Denise Wilkinson, SP
General Superior
June 2011

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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