A Good Father

A newspaper clipping entitled "My Father" reads like this: "When I was 7, I thought - My father is the smartest person in the world. He knows everything.

At 17- My father doesn’t know as much as I thought he did.

At 21 - My father doesn’t know anything, compared to me.

At 35 - My father knew much more than I thought he did.

At 50 - My father was always right."

I’m not sure how Father’s Day originated. One story has it that some years back a lady in Spokane, Washington, drew up a petition addressed to the ministers of that city and stressing a father’s important place in the home and in the training of his children. This idea spread nationally so that the third Sunday of June traditionally has been set aside as Father’s Day.

A few months back the New York Times carried an article headed, "Delinquent boys from well-to-do homes say fathers set double standards." It gave the findings of a psychiatrist after a four-year study of Long Island delinquents. Here was the conclusion: "The affluent teenage boy who steals hub caps, who crashes and breaks up house parties, and drinks too much is very likely to have learned delinquency at his father’s knee." Though the fathers tried to impress on their sons the necessity for diligence, perseverance, and respect for the golden rule, these same fathers boasted of shady business conquests, or of truancy in boyhood, or of taking the short cut to success. This conflict between precept and example greatly confused the boys, according to the psychiatrist, who reported his findings to the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He added, "Even if the boys sensed that their father’s behavior was reprehensible, they could hardly reject his example, and so felt hopeless about becoming a person of worth."

One psychologist has suggested that a father can better understand his teenage boy or girl if he asks himself, "What is there about me which my child is copying?" If a father’s sense of values centers around acquiring all the latest, shiniest, chrome gadgets, he shouldn’t be surprised if his teenage children have more interest in getting a powerful automobile than in earning good grades in school. The teenagers are just copying, in perhaps an exaggerated way, the importance father has placed on the ownership of material possessions.

A father is responsible to God for his children. Some day every father will stand before God and give an account of the lessons he has taught his children and the examples he has set before them, Will Durant tells of a little girl who came to her mother with the age-old question: "Mother, what is God like?" Mother hesitated, "You’d better ask daddy." She did. "Daddy, what is God like’?" He, too, hesitated, Later on in her childish possessions was found a slip of paper with free verse on it:

"I asked my mother v hat was God like.

She did not know.

Then I asked my father. who knows more than anyone else in the world, what God was like.

He did not know.

I think if I had lived as long as my mother or my father, I would know something about God."

We may not know all the answers, but we should know some of the elementary doctrines of the Christian faith.

A father’s example in the matter of church attendance (for an example), is very powerful. "If church isn’t important for father, then it’s not important for me."

It’s good when a father is a church member or a churchgoer, but there is something needed more than that. It’s possible to be both and still not be a true Christian, with Jesus Christ as your Savior. And do you seek to live a Christian life before your family? Children react less to what grown-ups say than to the way they live.

Father, would you be pleased to have your children walking in your footsteps today. Would it be the best thing for them to be "just like Dad?" Give your children the influence of a positive Christian life. Say as did Joshua of old, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

Youth ’s Living Ideals