To Fathers, with love

From all of us

Whose son are you?

fathers-day-114-114Fred Craddock while lecturing at Yale University told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant ….While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests.”

The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply.

“What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was.

“When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.

“Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’

I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.

But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.”

With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”

The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends.

Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected an illegitimate to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper.

Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living.

The Father God made

fathers-day-114-114When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, “What kind of Father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.” And God smiled and said, “Yes, but if I make him child-size, who would children have to look up to?”

And when God made a Father’s hands, they were large and sinewy. And the angel shook her head sadly and said, “Do you know what you’re doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.” And God smiled and said, “I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day…yet small enough to cup a child’s face in his hands.”

And then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. And the angel nearly had a heart attack. “Boy, this is the end of the week, all right,” she clucked. “Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?” And God smiled and said, “A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, and hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.”

God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. “That’s not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?” And God smiled and said, “They’ll work. You’ll see. They’ll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury Cross, or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.”

God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added tears. Then he turned to the angel and said, “Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?” The angel shut up.

Erma Bombeck.

A role model

fathers-day-114-114At three years of age, she would climb into her daddy’s lap, snuggle up with a wide, satisfied smile, and purr, “This is my safe place!” And so it was.

Dads, husbands, YOU are the “safe place.” You are our protector and provider. And when you gather us for a time with God, we need a safe place.

A safe place, not a lecture.

A safe place, not a sermon.

A very human dad/husband who simply cares about God and us. We don’t need or even want a “spiritual giant.”

We just want you. And we need a gathering time (phone unplugged) where it’s safe to say to each other, “How are you and the Lord getting along?” “How can we pray today?” We need a safe place to cry laugh, sing, rejoice, challenge, share, and sometimes not to share and have it be okay.

We need a time with you that’s relaxed–unstiff, when we can pray honestly, in simple sentences, from our hearts.

Unfixed. Un-rigid. Unroutine. Unshackled.

We need a place where irregular opinions are respected, and where God has the last word.

We need a gentleman leader, not a general.

Gracious. Relaxed. Human.

A family shepherd who exhibits not infallible authority, but a thirst for God.

Every day? Not necessarily.

Often? Yes. Long? No.

Where? Anywhere.


Sense where we’re at, and zero in.

We may need heavy-duty confessing to each other and to God…silent prayer…exuberant praise (try sing-a- long tapes)…Bible study.

But not every time. Thanks for listening, Dad (Husband).

Remember, we need you.

Your family.

Linda Anderson, Daily Bread, 1989.

Parents impact their children

fathers-day-64-64We are finding that both men and women get their basic religious style, trusting or paranoid, regardless of creed, from their fathers.

And you can guess what the decisive variable is–it’s whether things were pretty good between their parents, whether the father trusted the mother.

So a failure in one generation starts a cycle of paranoia down through the generations to come.

Father Andrew Greeley, Psychology Today, quoted in His

fathers-day-64-64Studies show that the absence of the father expresses itself in male children in two very different ways: it is linked to increased aggressiveness on one hand, and greater manifestations of effeminacy on the other. A 1987 study of violent rapists found that 60 percent of them came from single-parent homes. A Michigan State University study of adolescents who committed homicides found that 75 percent of them were from broken homes. Girls without fathers fare no better. They become sexually active sooner and are more likely to have out-of-wedlock children.

J. Dobson & G. Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990, pp. 167-168.

It is a fact: Fathers are needed

fathers-day-64-64A positive and continuous relationship to one’s father has been found to be associated with a good self-concept, higher self- esteem, higher self-confidence in personal and social interaction, higher moral maturity, reduced rates of unwed teen pregnancy, greater internal control and higher career aspirations.

Fathers who are affectionate, nurturing and actively involved in child-rearing are more likely to have well- adjusted children.

Dr. George Rekers, Homemade, vol. 11, no. 1.

Absentee fathers

fathers-day-48-48The most important predictor of criminal behavior is not race, not income, not religious affiliation.

It’s a father absence.

It’s boys who grow up without their fathers.”

David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values.

fathers-day-48-48“Is it possible to reconnect fathers to their children?

To reverse societal trends that produced the separation in the first place?

To fashion government policies and reshape attitudes regarding fathers themselves?


But not until we re-convince ourselves of what used to be common sense: Children need their fathers.”

William Rasberry, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post.

fathers-day-48-48“”Our very survival as a nation will depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in the home.”

Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family.

James Dobson, On the Father Front, Spring, 1994, p. 2.

The time fathers spend with their children

fathers-day-48-48The lack of attentiveness to children’s needs by fathers has produced great changes in the American home.

Fathers spend an average of only 38 seconds a day being totally attentive and 20 minutes being partially attentive to their children’s needs.

Associated with these changes are the rising teenage suicide rate, which has tripled in the last 20 years, and the increasing incidence of delinquent behavior, which will bring one of nine adolescents in the U.S. into a courtroom this year.

Dr. Seymour Diamond, M.D., in Homemade, October, 1982.

fathers-day-48-48James Dobson cited a Cornell University study showing that fathers of preschool children on the average spend 37.7 seconds per day in real contact with their youngsters.

In contrast, the study indicated that children watch television approximately 54 hours per week.

Christianity Today, March 23, 1979.

Church teens

fathers-day-48-48Josh McDowell in his book The Dad Difference, reveals these statistics: The average teen in our churches spends only 2 minutes a day in meaningful dialogue with his dad. 25% of these teens say they have never had a meaningful conversation with their father–a talk centered on the teens’ interests.

Josh McDowell, The Dad Difference.

fathers-day-48-48One startling bit of research conducted by the Christian Business Men’s Committee found the following: When the father is an active believer, there is about a seventy-five percent likelihood that the children will also become active believers. But if only the mother is a believer, this likelihood is dramatically reduced to fifteen percent.

Keith Meyering, Discipleship Journal, issue #49, p. 41.

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