FATHER’S DAY MESSAGE 2014
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Father’s day reminds me of many years ago when I attended a different church. The pastor there was the head of the jail ministry at the local county jail. He would tell us of how on Mother’s Day they would bring Mother’s Day cards so that the inmates who were so inclined could send a card to their mothers. Year after year no matter how many cards they brought there were never enough ! As Father’s Day approached they would bring Father’s Day cards to the jail for the same reason. Except in the case of Father’s Day cards they could literally not even give them away ! Almost every inmate wanted a Mother’s Day card to send to their mother, but rarely did an inmate see the need for wanted a Father’s Day card ! Mothers are getting the job done, but sadly we fathers too often are not.
Proverbs 20:7 tells us “The righteous live with integrity; happy are their children who come after them. “ Our modern world and our children need more Proverbs 20 fathers. I remember another time at that same church many years ago. We were in a mens bible study class and were discussing fatherhood. Out of the blue I said one of the smartest things that has ever come out of my mouth. I remarked to the class that parenthood was just a big game of monkey see, monkey do. Many of the men there were fathers of people I had gone to school with. We had quite a discussion about how their now grown children did things a certain way because they as fathers they had always done the same things the same way.
Our children desperately need our example. Our sons will treat their wives like we treat their mother. Our daughters’ expectations of how their husbands will treat them are framed by how we treat their mother. If we go to work, and provide for our family our children will seek the same thing. Our children want to be like us, and they are watching, and remembering more than we realize.
Our children need our time and affection. As fathers we are profoundly important people in their lives. If we lavish our affection on them they will feel special, and empowered. On the other hand if we are nothing but critical, they will come to believe they are worthless and may accomplish little in life. I once knew a single mother and her young daughter. They spent most of their time alone in their apartment. As a result this little girl rarely even saw a man. When she did it was as if you gave a starving man a banquet ! She craved a man’s presence and example even more than her mother did !
They don’t necessarily need a lot of our time either, but they need some of it. Back before I had children or grandchildren I had nephews. One day I was watching my oldest nephew playing on the floor over the top of my Sunday paper. “Uncle Robert ? “ he asked “ Will you play me checkers ?” I loved my nephew, but I had worked hard all week and I just wanted to read my paper and watch him play. But like any man should when you have a child in your world that you care about I though of what he needed not what I wanted. So I got down on the floor and we began to play. It wasn’t 10 minutes before he said “ Can we stop now ? “ and he went back to playing by himself, and I went back to my paper. He didn’t want to monopolize my time, he only needed a little bit of it but he needed it right then. The point here is we as fathers need to make our children a major priority in how we spend our time. We might be surprised at how little we end up giving up, and will likely underestimate the dividends small investments of our time will reap in our children’s lives
As we enjoy the presents, and being spoiled on Father’s Day, its the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves, and refocus ourselves on why this day exists. Father’s Day is not a celebration of who we are as individual men. It is a solemn observance of the profound role we play in the lives of the children we care about.