Father's Day, June 19, is still three days away as I am writing this column. It will be history by the time you read it. Yet I feel that stressing the importance of strong family ties is important. Family is the building block of our society.
Some years ago I heard a teenage boy say that he wanted to grow up to be a good, responsible father but he didn't want to get married. "Marriage," he said, "Was okay for other people but not for his segment of society." How, may I ask, can you plan to be a responsible father without having a wife and without forming a strong family unit?
Many of our problems with crime and poverty in our society can be traced directly to such foolish thinking. "I want to be a good father but I don't want to get married or have a wife." This is the worldly thinking of any number of young professional athletes who have children but are not married. And they are idolized by millions of youngsters. Hopefully they are admired for their athletic talent and not their personal lives.
The Apostle Paul warns, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ." (II Corinthians 4:4) I thank God for the many good Christian young people I know whose future plans include getting a good education, finding a good career, getting married, and raising a family.
Being a good, God-fearing parent isn't always the easiest task in the world. In fact, it can often be very difficult. And I am not talking about just paying the bills, feeding hungry mouths, providing timely discipline and a host of other parental chores. What's your ultimate goal? Some of the best advice I've heard came from my wife's father. He said regarding children, "Teach them to love their Savior."
That can best be done by setting a good example. My father never sent us to church. He took our whole family with him to church every Sunday. And we usually went to the early service.
There were times I admit I was a little embarrassed to be around my dad. There was the time our family was invited to an anniversary dinner and my dad wore his bright orange bowling shirt with this contractor's name embroidered on the back. Mother made him change.
But there were times I was proud of my dad. Once my brother and I helped Dad expand the basement of our old house. Dad let slip with a couple curse words. He immediately stopped and apologized. He explained that working in the factory he had to listen to that kind of language a lot. But he said that was no excuse. It was the only time I ever heard him cuss. We respected him for admitting he was human.
God-fearing fathers aren't perfect. We're sinners like everybody else. But by the grace of God we have come to know our Savior Jesus Christ and his forgiving love. And our first goal in life is to teach our children by word and example to love their Savior too.
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