General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) was our nation’s last five-star general. His fiery command of many campaigns
in WWI, WWII, and Korea distinguished him as a true patriot. But MacArthur was also a man of prayer. “A Father’s Prayer,” written by the general during the early days of the desperate campaigns in the Far East in WWII” is a model for every father today.
The prayer follows:
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, I have not lived in vain.
On Father’s Day, we express formally a love and gratitude whose roots go deeper than conscious memory can recite.
It is only fitting that we have this special day to pay tribute to those men–our natural fathers, adoptive fathers, and foster fathers–who deserve our deepest respect and devotion.
It is equally fitting, as we recall the ancient and loving command to honor our fathers, that we resolve to do so by becoming ourselves parents and citizens who are worthy of honor.