“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” ~ George Herbert (1593-1633)
It’s Father’s Day. I’ve written quite a bit about my own father here on my blog. He was one amazing dad, but he didn’t benefit from having a role model to pattern himself after.
My paternal grandfather died when my own father was just a baby, so Dad grew up with a single, widowed mother in a household of five kids. From what I gather, his older brothers were not necessarily great examples of fine fatherhood. So I’ve often wondered how my dad learned to be such an exceptional father.
Since Dad was the youngest in his family, I believe he gleaned some lessons from watching the mistakes his older brother made and vowing not to follow in his footsteps. Dad also showed nothing but love, support, and respect for my mother, which I think is the first step in being a good patriarch of the family. But I also believe he trusted God to show him the way from through fatherhood territory.
I think my dad embodied this particular scripture: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ~ Micah 6:8
My own husband is also a terrific father. He combines a good mixture of firm but not overly stern discipline with lots of opportunities for fun. I think he exhibits a good example for each of our children and he’s always supported their endeavors, offering sound advice, and buckets of encouragement along the way. But like my dad, I think my husband also leans heavily on God and his faith to point him in the right direction.
One remarkable and admirable aspect about my husband is his involvement with a prison ministry. For several years now, my husband has visited our local jail about once a month and holds a Bible study/question and answer time with the male prisoners who choose to attend.
One of the things my husband has shared with me is that so many prisoners either: a. don’t know their fathers or b. don’t have a relationship with their fathers at all. That breaks my husband’s heart and mine.
I have to wonder how many men – young and old alike – would not be sitting in their prison cells now if they had had good, respectable fathers in their lives as a youngster. Hubby has also shared with me that prisoners wait patiently to be able to call their mothers on Mother’s Day, but don’t call their fathers on Father’s Day.
Something needs to change. I don’t know the complete answer to the situation of absent fathers, irresponsible dads, or unloving parents. But I do know one thing. Fathers are vitally important to a child. I don’t want to be ‘preachy’ on this subject, but in my line of work, I see the direct result of teenagers who don’t have a guiding father in their lives. And I wish it was different for them.
I pray on this Father’s Day that more dads would stand up and take responsibility for the life of the child they’ve been given as a gift. It’s not just about financially providing, although that too is needed. It’s about being there as a loving, supportive, involved dad and leading by example for the children who are crying for daddy’s attention.
I pray these men would seek wisdom to guide their children morally and spiritually into their futures. And on this day in my book of Opportunity, I pray more dads would be like my own father, my father-in-law, and my husband, father of my children.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” ~ Ephesians 6:4 (NLT)
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