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Dad, Will You Stay A Father?

Edgar, father of nine, reflected on how he had mellowed as a father over the years: "When the firstborn coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When the last one swallowed a dime, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance." The role of father in the home has been studied, prodded, probed, analyzed, criticized, and pulverized. Divorce has wreaked its havoc on millions of marriages over the years and one of the most awful results is that fathers are often physically and emotionally absent from their children's lives. Motherhood has its own particular challenges, but fatherhood does, too. Culture sends mixed signals about what is expected from dad. Some have held court on Father and decided he is not that big a player in the family game. Be that as it may, the Bible, common sense, and human experience testify with one voice that Dad is a part of God's Divine plan, and that children still need their fathers. I hope the following piece (entitled "I Am Going To Stay A Father") by the late news commentator Paul Harvey will challenge and encourage every father who reads it (and his wife and kids): At a time when being a buddy to one's son is popular, I am going to stay a father. I believe it may yet prove to have been a bit of sad psychology when dads are called "Jim, Peter, Art, Tom, Jack" by their children. When Spock, Freud, Dewey,. and William James have conspired to make dad a minor stockholder on the home's board of directors, when women's rights, civil rights, people's rights, children's rights, and property rights have made it wrong for fathers to speak with authority, I am going to stay a father.

If a gap exists between my sons and daughters and myself, I am going to work hard to understand. But I'm also going to work hard to be understood. . . .  When they tell it like it is, I'll listen, even if I like it better like it was. If old-fashioned things like prayer, Bible study, worship, and faith in God ever seem to my children to be out of it, square, or whatever — I trust God's help to have faith enough to yet pray for them. With love in our home I will answer their questions about the facts of life, but at nudeness and lewdness I refuse to wink. Drinking and smoking are as out of place and unwanted in my home as profanity or the plague. And if experimentation with drugs or marijuana is ever a problem, it will be in violation of my every prayer and request. No laissez faire attitude will be accepted here - even if the weed is legalized and social -tripping" becomes as acceptable as social drinking.  I want my children to know that I make mistakes, that I am foolish, proud, and often inconsistent. But I will not tolerate that as an excuse for my hypocrisy. I ask them to help me change in the methods expected of a parent. Others may look to the under-30-crowd for the wisdom to throw away the past and to say what will remain for the future generations; others may let the off-spring in the house determine the foods, the music, and the spending of the household, but I am going to stay a father.  "Children's children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father." (Proverbs 17:6)
To all our dads, HAPPY FATHER'S DAYI

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ