Tomorrow is father’s day. It seem a shame that Father’s Day is not as big a deal as Mother’s day, but then again, Father’s seem to have gone missing here in the USA. Fatherlessness is growing at an alarming rate! Today, one in three children will go to bed in a home without a dad. This entire series, all 45 days of intense discussions on a father’s Legacy is really a call to action for all of us. Every American man and every man that this Ministry has reached across the globe needs to step up to the plate and hit a home-run! With every decision we make and every decision we don’t, we must ask ourselves;
What kind of Legacy will I leave this world?
I found this on the web:
I don’t have a daughter, but if I had one, I’d do a few of these suggestions. This is god stuff.
The Top Ten Ways to Intimidate Your Daughter’s Date When He Comes to Pick Her Up:
10. Sprinkle some dust on your daughter before she leaves. Explain, “It makes fingerprinting easier.”
9. Challenge him at arm wrestling.
8. Introduce him to your good friend Tony Soprano.
7. Answer the door wearing a police swat team uniform.
6. Casually show him your collection of five shrunken heads, then yell up to your daughter, “Number six is here!”
5. Come to the door bare-chested. Do a lot of flexing.
4. Introduce him to the family by calling each family member to the living room using a whistle, then making them stand at attention and salute.
3. Have the funeral home director over to measure the young man.
2. Answer the door in a straight-jacket.
1. As they leave, speak into a walkie-talkie: “Subject is wearing khakis and a blue polo shirt, driving a green Ford.”
Here’s a more serious Top Ten list. A survey of elementary children was conducted a few years ago which indicated the ten most appreciated qualities for Dads:
1. He takes time for me.
2. He listens to me.
3. He plays with me.
4. He invites me to go places with him.
5. He lets me help him.
6. He treats my mother well.
7. He lets me say what I think.
8. He’s nice to my friends.
9. He only punishes me when I deserve it.
10. He isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong.
In a New Yorker magazine cartoon, a young child interrupts his dad’s reading of the evening paper with a question: “Dad, am I experiencing a normal childhood?” We dads might ask ourselves, “Am I a normal parent?”
In the survey of schoolchildren I read, the top five qualities involve time. For a child, “love” is spelled: T-I-M-E. According to family psychologist Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family), the average father spends less than a minute of face-to-face communication with his children per day!
Children need time. We devote time and energy to the people and things we value the most. Children conclude that, “If you don’t have time for me, then you must not care about me.”
Dr. Dobson made a video for the Army many years ago, at the request of the Army Chief of Staff, General Wickam. The title was “Where’s Dad?” and it dealt with the failure of dads to spend enough time with their kids. Look it up and you will be amazed! I know that One Hundred Years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
I read of a dad who promised his two sons to take them to the circus. But early that morning the phone rang; an urgent business call required the dad’s presence downtown. The two boys braced themselves for the disappointment. Then they heard their father say, “No, I won’t be down; it’ll have to wait.” When he came back to the breakfast table, his wife smiled. “The circus keeps coming back, you know,” she said. “Yes, I know”, replied the father, “but childhood doesn’t”. Dads are entrusted with the task of making memories.
No amount of success can compensate for failure in the home. What priority do we give our children and grandchildren? A group of children were asked, “What is a dad for?” Some talked about how their dads made money or fixed things around the house. One of the best answers was: “A dad is for spending time with.”
I have three sons, when my oldest was very young, he asked me one evening to read him a book which was too long to read in one setting. After reading two chapters, I put it down and said, “Well, maybe later we can find out what happens.” Then I was told, “Oh, Mom’s already read me that book twice.” What did my son really want? To hear a story, or to spend time with me? Kids crave—and deserve our time and attention.
We dads also need to listen more. If we spoke less and listened more, maybe we would exasperate our kids less. We need to be approachable. Sometimes we don’t make it safe for our kids to say what’s really on their minds. We need to hear the things that are important to our kids: their likes and dislikes, their opinions, and even the seemingly trivial things—without impatience or interruption. It’s been said that “a child is an island of curiosity surrounded by a sea of question marks.” The average child will ask 500,000 questions from the time they’re talking to age 15. Answering questions is only part of what we convey. Much of what our kids learn is caught rather than taught—they learn from what they observe. This means we can’t afford to cheat on our taxes, lie to our boss, or be rude to a salesperson. Our lifestyle is the lesson.
Paul tells us dads to “bring up” our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” One father is worth more than a dozen schoolteachers. We need to ask ourselves: “Is my spiritual life worth imitating? Do I have a natural enthusiasm for things such as prayer, Bible study, church activities, and caring for the needs of others?” Spiritual guidance cannot be delegated to others. Our kids’ Sunday School teachers aren’t the ones entrusted with the responsibility of making our children followers of Jesus. Our kids’ relationship with God begins in the home. If our faith in Christ is genuine, it will be seen at work in our homes. The book of Proverbs tells us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it” (22:6).
The prayer I offer the most is that God will bless my children in spite of me, and my blundering efforts. Fathers are always on center stage, and we never know when the next test will present itself. We need the encouragement and the prayers of others to face this most difficult of all tasks. I read of a stepfather who confessed to a group of men, “I’m struggling with my stepson, who I’m trying to love, but he just will not respond. It’s brought tension to the whole family. I’ve done everything I can think of. Will someone pray for me?” The men did, and this discouraged stepdad gained strength to keep trying. A week later, he reported he had a major breakthrough with his stepson. He was a growing father. Sometimes the task at hand is to try to repair and restore a damaged relationship. Love means we reach out, even when the one we’re reaching to isn’t reaching back. Faith means we latch onto the promise of God in Malachi chapter 4, “And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children” (vs 6a).
None of us come from perfect homes. Some of us may need to reach out to our fathers, seeking reconciliation. We may need to offer forgiveness to release ourselves from the bitterness we’ve been carrying.
I’d like to close with a quote from General Douglas MacArthur: “By profession, I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build. The father only builds, never destroys…It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle, but in the home.”
How will we be remembered by our children? What traits, behaviors, characteristics will they take from us? Years from now will our children recall our affection and acceptance? Will their lives be aimless and futile, or will they embrace the faith of their fathers? May we by example and instruction lead our children towards developing stability, character, and spiritual maturity, based on a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ. May we leave them an eternal and spiritual Legacy! Let our children say one day that the Legacy we left them is that we lived a life that showed them the heart of The Father.
Tomorrow is father’s day! Tomorrow brings and end to the Tribute that we have been giving Father’s, but it does not bring an end to our jobs as Father’s. May you take with you all the wisdom and encouragement that every man and woman poured out in their articles. May Father’s Day 2017 bring unexpected blessings to you and to your family as you draw near to God and learn to be the father that God created you to be. Happy father’s Day 2017!
[A special thanks to all the people that contributed to this Father’s Day Tribute: Rick Amitin, Sandra Cerda, Leon Barnes, Anna Bradford, Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, David Porter, Al Cerda, Tyler Jacobson, David Moore, Farn Golden, Ted Thevaos, Dr. Bill Hennessy, Paul Bronback, Marsh Bull]
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