Father’s Day – A Retrospective
Fathers tend to set an initial direction in life for their children.
I once heard it said that “children love their mothers but they follow their fathers.” Of course there are exceptions to this saying but as a general rule, fathers are the person whom many of us look up to. Having lost my own father this past September, this will be my first Father’s Day without him and of course, when this loss comes, it changes one’s Father’s Day perspectives significantly. I was one of the fortunate people who can say that I truly look up to my father, his example and his life. He tended me and planted in me and I am thankful for all the things he planted, much of it unbeknownst to either of us. My dad was a pastor by profession but also had all the virtues in private that most expect a good father to have – He was always supportive, both materially and emotionally. He never stopped loving me through all of my youthful stupidity. He was never given to any vice or addiction. He was always encouraging, kind, thoughtful, very generous and went to great pains to never lie. He was utterly faithful to my mom for their 60 years together and encouraged his children to also pursue upright living. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone else with his amazing level of integrity and he had the most innocent adult heart I’ve ever known, along with a distinct happiness and positivism and an amazing sense of humor. I know that the good things that he’s sown into mine and many others’ lives have borne and will bear fruit. The time and effort he put into planting in me has brought forth some good stuff in my own heart, though I don’t think I will ever fill his shoes – he was an unassuming giant among men.
As this new growing season is now in full swing, it is notable that the things that we put into our aquaponic systems are going to directly affect the fruit that our systems bear as well. With aquaponics, like soil based gardening, the level of effort and “love” we put into our fish and vegetables determines how much quality they will reflect. Like a father needs to put in time to invest himself into his children’s lives, we have to also remember that putting time into anything, including our aquaponic gardens, will determine the quality of fruit that is borne.
I don’t like when people portray aquaponics as “turn it on and walk away.” While admittedly, aquaponics is easier than many forms of gardening or farming, every living thing needs to be attended to in some way and this includes living systems. Let’s try and remember to be good “fathers” to our fish and our plants. My wife likes to repeat the quote a lot, “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.” Though it’s not as catchy, in the same way, be true to your system or it may let you down.
I keep bees and while they are very self reliant, I still have to be a “father” to my girls and crack the hives open at least once a week to monitor them and see if I need to intervene and help or not. I have a soil garden in my back yard and as anyone who gardens outside knows, if I’m not a good “father” to my vegetables with watering, weeding, harvesting and pruning, it will soon be an overgrown mess or, in our dry and intense Colorado sun, a dried up mess.
So dad’s we salute you! We dads get one day a year to be honored, when we are supposed to take it easy, put our feet up, do something fun or whatever. So enjoy your day because, come Monday, it is back to responsibility for the next 364 days… and that includes taking care of your fish and plants! We salute you dad’s who take your maintenance responsibilities seriously, no matter what or whom you are “fathering.” Dads, the world needs you in many ways!