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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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IT STILL TAKES A MAN

A father said to his son, "When I was your age, I used to be thrilled to just get a piece of dry bread for dinner." The son responded, "Gee, Dad, you're much better off living with us, aren't you?" Dads are better off living with the family they helped to father and create. But it is not only Dad who is better off from being with his family-his family benefits, too, in ways that are measurable and verifiable. A U. S. News and World Report article entitled "Why Fathers Count" (2/27/95) began with the following words: "Dad is destiny. More than virtually any other factor, a biological father's presence in the family will determine a child's success or failure." Consider these additional quotes from the article:

* "The absence of fathers is linked to most social nightmares-from boys with guns to girls with babies."

* "Fatherlessness is the most destructive trend of our generation."

* "No welfare plan can cut poverty as throughly as a two-parent family."

* "Raising marriage rates will do far more to fight crime than building prisons or putting more cops on the street."

* "Growing up with both parents turns out to be a better antidote to teen pregnancy than handing out condoms."

* "Social scientists have linked a father's absence and his child's likelihood of being a dropout, -jobless, a drug, addict, a suicide victim, mentally ill, and a target of sexual abuse."

Mind you, now, these statements are not from the pen of a paranoid preacher. They are based upon the results of a growing body of scientific research and data. The evidence is in: when fathers fall, families falter! While true many children beat the odds and succeed in spite of a family without a father, fathers are not, as some would have us believe. optional equipment for the family. As Stu Weber notes, "Even a glance at our culture bears out the power of fathering ... or the power of its absence. It may well be that the major problems in America today stein from a lack of fatherhood" (Tender Warrior. p 134). Author Steve Farrar asserts with provocative words, "Fathers count. Fathers who stay, that is. It takes more than sperm to be a father. It takes commitment" (Anchor Alan, p 29). God still assigns every father his primary job description in Ephesians 6:4,  "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." When it comes to being a father, it still takes a man!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ