Brian Mittge: Thoughts on fatherhood, faithfulness and fidelity


As we celebrate fathers with cards and barbecue picnics this weekend, let’s take a moment to look at some of what we admire most in the great dads (and moms) out there: faithfulness and self-sacrifice.

Those old-fashioned virtues of dedication to things that matter are the heart of how trying to be a good parent helps people become the best version of themselves.

Talking about virtues might seem sort of antiquated these days. But it’s worth doing. So while we’re at it, here’s a truly ancient (but powerful) virtue: fidelity.

Being true to what matters, enduring through ups and downs, knowing that staying faithful through the hard times make the good times even better — that’s a little of what fidelity means to me.

There’s a new movement out there to get all of us, men and women, old and young, to think about and practice these ideas more deeply.

Last year, a Princeton professor and public thinker, Dr. Robert George, unveiled the idea of declaring each June to be national Fidelity Month. He was dismayed by polls showing an alarming drop in America’s belief in the importance of faith, family and love of country.

“These are things that used to unite us as a people,” George said, “regardless of our politics or religion.”

His vision is to spend this month each year “rededicating ourselves to God, our spouses and families, our communities, and our country.”


June, halfway through the year, is a good opportunity to pause and reorient ourselves. It’s a time when students are graduating from school and our natural world is turning from the growth of spring to the richness of summer. It’s a great point to recommit ourselves to our Creator, our country, our community and our kinfolk. And then we can celebrate explosively together on July 4!

In a time of division, it’s worth remembering and coming together to reclaim our common ground: a Constitution that has been refined and reforged over the past two centuries to form an ever-more perfect union dedicated to human rights and a democratic republic of self-governance — an enterprise that lives only by people coming together despite their disagreements.

The better we do this — the more we show fidelity under the banner of something much bigger than our current politics — the more our nation as a whole and we as a people will survive and thrive.

You can learn more at or by searching for the Fidelity Month group on Facebook.


Across America, individuals and families will be diving deeper into this on June 24 through a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. It’s a time to pray for our country and join a longstanding tradition in many faiths of fasting. This spiritual discipline is a choice to sacrifice your own comfort by going without food in order to focus your attention on prayer and those in need around you.

This is something that anyone can do, regardless of their particular religious tradition. Whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, another faith background, or if you simply just follow the lead of the Founding Fathers in acknowledging what Thomas Jefferson called the Creator, Nature’s God and Divine Providence.

The folks at Fidelity Month offer a sample prayer that includes this invocation to the Divine:

“Grant us the grace to unite as one people in turning back to You with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, and with all of our minds. Cleanse us of all that separates us from You, and help us to cultivate the virtues we need this day and always, so that we may grow in fidelity to You — Who are always faithful — and to our spouses and families, and to our communities and country, and thereby live in accordance with Your holy will. In Your boundless mercy and lovingkindness, Lord, please heal and restore our land.”

Whatever a person’s religious (or non-religious) point of view, we could all agree that we’d like healing and restoration in our land.


Devotion to the duties of being a father and husband has been the greatest earthly blessing of my life. It makes me grateful for the self-sacrifice of my mom and dad.  My wife, Sarah, feels the same way about her parents. Our grandparents and great-grandparents also were just as dedicated. 

The previous generations were faithful. They lived out fidelity, and I’m thankful that my wife and I chose to sink our roots deeply into that fertile soil they gave to us. I lament the difficulties facing all of those who were not given that nourishing environment, or who turned away from it.

Whether you or I are choosing fidelity to good traditions passed down to us, or have the more difficult job of building up new pillars of strength and faithfulness for our children and generations to come, this is the big job of our lives.

This moment is ours to sacrifice together for something great. What a blessing to live out this calling! I’m excited for a month dedicated to fidelity.

Happy Father’s Day to all the guys keeping the faith for their families, and happy Fidelity Month to everyone joining hands, bowing heads and moving forward together in faithfulness to what really matters.


Brian Mittge’s column appears each Saturday in The Chronicle. He can be reached at