Father's Day is coming up, and people are wondering what to give their fathers on this special day. It might be good to think about Julia Ward Howe, the founder of Mother's Day. She said that she did not raise her children to kill or maim the children of another mother, nor would she applaud a child who did such a thing. She said, "Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
What a wonderful gift it would be for a child of mine promising to never for any reason kill or maim the child of another father. When our children are young we insist that they not fight with one another, but when they reach 18 years of age many parents encourage their children to go off to another country to threaten, maim or kill others.
Why do so many do that?
I believe that they sincerely believe that they are actually saving the rest of us from the "evil ones" who want to take away our freedom. I believe that they take on the fear propagandized by the military industrial complex and private mercenary groups who reap much wealth from planting the seeds of invasions and occupations. I believe some like the respect and glorification that comes with having a child in the military, better known as "the service".
We are in our 8th year of having weekly vigils for peace in Park Falls, and many times someone will shout from his or her car that we should be appreciating the young who are "protecting our asses" and dying in the process. I have written in many letters to the editor and said many times to these people that I would never ever ask anyone, much less a child of mine, to maim or kill another so I would be safe or have my freedom. Their response is that I am selfish since others DO want to be safe and free!
I do want people to be safe and free; but the means by which we are to secure this is not through violence and the barrel of a gun, but by practicing what Julia Ward Howe suggests: charity, mercy and patience.
A gift to a father from a child promising to practice these virtues is of far greater value than any material gift.
Rev. Don Timmerman