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Happy Father's Day

Jun 18, 2012 — Categories: ,

When I was about nine years old, I remember a dinner table conversation between my father and mother. I think we had just received news that my favorite uncle, the doctor, had beaten up my aunt.

When I was about nine years old, I remember a dinner table conversation between my father and mother. I think we had just received news that my favorite uncle, the doctor, had beaten up my aunt. My mother looked my father in the eye and said, “You know if you ever lay a hand on me, it will be the last time.”  I looked at my older brother as if to say, “What’s up with this?” He looked puzzled.  My dad looked her back in the eye and with a smile said, “Yes, dear. I know.”

As I have thought of this incident over the years of my work, I have realized that my mother was not conveying any new information to my father. My father would never have dreamed of laying a hand on my mother. But our mother was conveying information to my brother and me. She just wanted to make sure that we both understood that force, coercion and control had no place in the family --- especially between intimate partners.

Message received.

I am one of the lucky ones who grew up in a home without violence and abuse, a home where I observed and experienced respect. No, it wasn’t perfect by any means. We had all the stresses and strains of any middle class family in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, trying to make ends meet and cope with the cultural chaos of the time. But I know I was fortunate.

On this Fathers’ Day, I am grateful that I have a father who was there for us, who always supported me, expected the best and to this day remains open to new ideas and possibilities. But most of all, I am thankful that he loved and respected my mother and never raised his hand against her.

My father is 96 years old, works out twice a week, goes to work twice a week, reads the NY Times online everyday and keeps me up to date on politics and other important matters. So Happy Father’s Day, Dad. And thanks.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute

Marie and Dad cropped


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Posted by Gus Kaufman at Jun 20, 2012 06:50 PM
Dear Marie,
  Wonderful story of wonderful people. The apple did not fall far from the tree!

Father's Day

Posted by S. Elaine Shaw at Jun 20, 2012 06:50 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your Father's Day greeting. And for the update on your Dad's activities, so blessed in his 9th decade. The photo of you together is endearing.
Peace always and in all ways,

Happy Father's Day

Posted by Emily Fischer, ARNP at Jun 20, 2012 06:51 PM
It makes me smile to see such a loving photo of you and your dad, Marie. I slip myself into that photo and it feels so nice. It's healing, just to look at it. Thank you for sharing it and your letter.
Kindest regards,
Emily Fischer, ARNP

Father's Day article

Posted by Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck at Jun 20, 2012 06:51 PM
What a lovely essay! We need to celebrate and highlight the wonderful, gentle men in our world, just as we need to hold abusive men accountable. I, too, had a wonderful father, and I miss him. Each generation of boys needs to hear about the nonviolent men we cherish.

Father's Day

Posted by Gail Mengel at Jun 20, 2012 06:51 PM
I loved reading Marie's remembrance of her dad. It also reminds me of the many women and children who are not so blessed. FaithTrust has worked for more than 30 years to bring awareness about abuse, and offered resources, workshops, webinars and blogs to train, teach and change institutions and individuals. As a member of the national board, I am keening aware that like every nonprofit, FaithTrust deserves and needs our financial support in whatever amount we are able to give. Abuse is still an ugly reality in our lives and we need to help groups that work to change the world by teaching, training and advocating for safe and healthy relationships. Thanks to Marie and others, FaithTrust has been and continues to be on the forefront in addressing these critical issues.