Be the father God intends

For Father’s Day I want to speak to fathers. I begin with a story about…mothers. About a certain mother who, wanting to teach her daughter to save, gave her two quarters. One was to be put in the bank; the other could be spent.

The quarter to be saved was immediately put in the piggy bank, but the other quarter— what to do with it? That was something to be carefully considered. While the daughter was mulling over her decision, quite without thinking, she started to put the coin in her mouth. Mom quickly said to her, “Honey, don’t do that!”

Star t led by her mot her’s warning, she asked, “Why?” The mother explained, “Well, first of all because the quarter’s dirty. You don’t know who has had it. Second, because it is in all likelihood covered with germs. Third, because you could choke on something that small and it could kill you.”

It was a pretty long list of reasons for not chewing on a quarter. The little girl was quite impressed. After a moment, she asked, “Mommy, where did you learn all that stuff?” With a smile, mother replied, “Honey, all mommies know things like that. It is on the mommy test. If you don’t know things like that, they flunk you and you don’t get to be a mommy.”

Totally unfazed, the little girl took about two seconds and then asked, one final question, “And if you flunk the mommy test, then do you have to be a daddy?”

This little story well illustrates the low opinion many people have about fathers. Commercials portray dads as sofasitting, beer-swigging, incompetent idiots. TV sitcoms show them as bungling, bigoted bozos incapable of understanding the complexities of family life.

Read the paper, watch the news and you get some pretty frightening information about fathers, homes and families. Seventy-five percent of adults believe that the family unit is weaker today than 30 years ago.

Is t here hope for today ’s fathers and families? Yes, there is. A recent study by Homemade shows that if neither father nor mother goes to church, only 6 percent of their children will. If Mom goes to church alone, the figure rises to 15 percent. But fathers, if you bring your children to church, the number rises to 55 percent. And just to finish the study, if you really want to increase your children’s possibilities, both mother and father should attend worship. Then the figure rises to 75 percent.

Fathers, God has given you children. You have a God-given task. On this Father’s Day, give yourself anew to Christ. Set the example. Let your children see you read the Bible. Let them hear you pray. Be a father worth having. Be the father God wants you to be!

Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple where he was senior minister for 23 years.

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2010-06-17 digital edition

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