Happy Father’s Day everyone. I hope this day is a true celebration of your fatherhood. I also hope that as you celebrate your fatherhood, you will remember that to be a good father you have had to have good children, good partners and good friends. One cannot be a good father without a supporting cast. To truly celebrate father’s day, we must be grateful for all those who help make us be fathers.

Today I recall my father’s words to me as I left for study in Japan in 1978. He said to me, “Be like kome (rice)” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. In early 1979 I moved into my small apartment near Arashiyama. It was a quiet neighborhood with a small patch of farmland across the street.

School starts in April and so does the rice planting season. The field across the street was flooded with water. I recall walking home from school and the pungent odor from the water and small frogs jumping about. Soon the planting of the rice fields began and barefooted men and women would plant by hand each row of the young rice stalks.
Each day I would walk home and week by week the young rice stalks would grow and within three months or so I began to see the rice kernels appear. And it wasn’t long after that when I saw the rice stalks heavily laden with the kernel of rice.

It was as if they were bowing their heads down to the very earth that provided the water and soil for their birth and maturity. “Be like kome” my father had said to me; the words came back to me as I viewed the humble kome bowing their heads.

I then understood my father’s words and what he was telling me. Today his words still ring in my ears and I try to remember his wish for me.
As we learn and grow we should never lose sight of that which supports and nurtures our life, we should never forget all that sustains us. And as we grow and mature we must remain humble and bow our heads in deep gratitude.

Best wishes everyone, and happy father’s day.
Rev. Shinseki