That seems like such a radical statement for a 29-year old to make. In a generation which is supposedly self-obsessed, the concept of sacrificing your personal time, energy, and life for another tiny life seems out of sorts. And it is hard. But I love my two sons. I love my wife. And I love any future children that God blesses us with.

It is a culture where fathers aren’t always respected–who are the pop culture dads? The bumbling, idiotic Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin? The arrogant, work-obsessed, and high-powered Tyrion Lannister? The serial adulterer and misogynist Donald Trump? Who is the example we can hold up as the dad we are called to be?

I found the answer to my question in my new job–working at St. Joseph School. St. Joseph–we having no record of what he said and very little of what he did. Like most dads, he drove the car/donkey to and from Bethlehem, to and from Jerusalem, to and from Egypt. He tried to do right by his future wife and respect her, while being, I’m sure, very perturbed about her pregnancy. He listened to God’s messenger, something I can only hope to do with that same level of trust. He worked, supporting his family. I’m sure he also struggled with being the only one with sin in his household, with being present as a recipient of the grace ushered into the world by the Theotokos and the Christ. He was a supporter of that plan but not its star.

It’s in that sense–as a supporting actor–that Joseph’s fatherhood can be most powerful for me. He is there to serve, to raise his children, to support his wife, to keep the home afloat, to drive the donkey, and even ask for directions. It’s in those moments of paternal support that I most cherish the vocation.

I don’t love repeating answers to the same questions, hearing the same “dad” “dad” “dad” a thousand times, cleaning up poop in every room of the house, playing the “what will the toddler eat” game, hearing about how this friend “won’t allow [him] to be batman,” et al. But I do love being a dad and I do treasure and laugh at those moments, after the fact. Sometimes, very long after the fact.


I can only meditate and imagine about the concerns Joseph had. Who is this woman to be my wife? Who is this boy to be my son? Will I somehow mess up God’s plan with my own selfishness?

In order to follow Joseph’s example, all I can do is work, pray, and support. By taking my job and household duties seriously – I can model the way we are called to contribute to our home community, faith community, and national community. By balancing work with family and faith, I can model the way, we properly order the demands on our time.

By praying, at bedtime, at meals, at Mass, at naptime, I can model the way we are called to be in communion with God. I can show how faith informs and embodies the daily rhythms of our life. I can pass on that faith to another generation, a generation which is growing up in a world shorn of its historical, theological, and philosophical truths and roots.

By supporting, I can show my sons how we cherish and work for what we love. I can show them how to be humble, not arrogant; of how to be faithful and not stray; of how to be respectful and not selfish. I can show them how the quiet smiles and tired thank yous at the end of the day can be more gratifying than a thousand Instagram likes, Facebook friends, dollars, or rounds of applause.

Like St. Joseph, I’m human – I’m not always going to be the role model that my sons need or deserve. Like St. Joseph, I’m sure, I’m going to make mistakes. I can only hope that the formation given to my sons will enable them to treasure the truths, recognize the errors, and be just a little bit better.

St. Joseph, patron saint of fathers, pray for us. Pray for all fathers who struggle to do right by their family. Pray for all those mothers who have to be mother and father for their children. Pray for all grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and friends who, like you, work to support their family and friends. Guide us to be humble, respectful, and mindful of the work we do as fathers. Amen.

Kevin was publisher of the Rover for three years, from 2007-2010, which largely consisted of sneaking onto campus in a car and distributing papers in as many places as he could. Since then, he’s taught in Los Angeles, gotten married, read a few books, and, starting in July, will be Principal of St. Joseph’s School in Hawthorne, CA. He can be reached at