Fatherhood: A Symbol of...?
By Jennifer Noble
Moments pass by, but over time, they unfold a story. The birth of a second child was a moment, but it means so much more within the scope of family life. John Boerigter is the father of two sons, Hank and Gus, and when second-born Gus became a part of the mix, it expanded the concept of family as they knew it. Hank was super excited to have a younger brother, and as John describes, “He had an authentic joy.” This one positive moment affected John’s experiences as a father beyond the initial arrival, in enjoying the two boys grow together and share a growing bond of brotherhood.
In addition, Boerigter finds a strong sense of family is motivated from experiences with his and his wife’s families of origin. He has an older brother, and his wife is sandwiched in between two brothers. Beings that Hank is five, and Gus is four, the couple now looks for ways to be active and enjoying life similar to what they’ve experienced. “My wife went to Okoboji with her family, and so we like to repeat this tradition with our boys. There is a certain amount of respect you have in seeing these kinds of memories repeated in the next generation.”
In moving to this area, the Boerigter’s have access to both sides of their families, where parents and in-laws are helpful support. “Not only do they provide a safety net in their role and examples, but they give a sense of stability to the family as they pass down stories of what the family has done. They provide so much by their examples,” John explains.
His goal for maintaining positive communication stems from the viewpoint that with sensitive issues, it is his responsibility to deliver a message that is received well. It is important to him that with giving feedback, he is open and clear with his thoughts and suggestions. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Boerigter seeks to encourage his family and others in sharing service opportunities and providing positive communication on a daily basis. He has been involved with an annual Angel Tree project at First Presbyterian Church, giving away food baskets to families in need and being personally vested in the delivery. In addition, he finds his church a safe place for his sons to let out their “childhood energy” in healthy ways. He finds others have made a positive impact to the stability and growth of his boys. He shares, “Church has brought us closer together. It’s affected our home life because we have another way to bond on a weekly basis as it gives us a good routine, and social connections that are caring.”
The symbol of fatherhood equated to being a provider of light is one that fits the powerful presence this type of fatherly guidance can have. At First Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary, the front wall includes nine medallion mosaics containing symbols representing the life of Christ. This artwork was designed and executed by Professor Palmer Eide and his assistant, Mr. Melvin Larson, of the Art Department of Augustana College, Sioux Falls.
Within the nine mosaics is a candle giving light, representing the teaching of Jesus, the Light of the World, also highlighted in scripture, as it says in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” With Father’s Day coming on June 16th, there will be several cards depicting various symbols of fatherhood. Some are funny, and some are serious, but most take the space to honor the love and work a father provides for his family.
Below are graphics depicting the message “We’re nuts about you Dad!!!” This symbolic message fits a tool guy or a food guy. These examples were provided to begin the process of contemplating the impact of intentional living for fathers at any stage. Those who are easy to honor may not often receive words of thankfulness felt over their generosity. To take a step further, in thinking of actions to show a heartfelt appreciation for the strong leaders around you, for Father’s Day and every day, it will be representative of the blessings received and gratitude gained from those in relationship with you.
We’re Nuts about you Dad!!!
Want more: Check out First Presbyterian Church’s article on anticipation.
Jennifer Noble graduated with a Corporate Communications major and has written locally for “Etc. for Her” as well as Sioux Falls charities such as the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, two of her stories are published in compilations, “I’m Glad I’m a Mom” (Harvest House) and “God Still Meets Needs” (CreateSpace). She is the Communications Manager at First Presbyterian Church.