A salute to wonderful fathers is never too late

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Our column rotation placed my Father’s Day tribute after the fact this year, but, hey, it’s never too late to salute the dads who are doing a good job with fatherhood, and to challenge all of us to raise our performance even more.

Being a father is a wonderful gift, an awesome privilege. I’ve entered the almost-empty nest stage of life, and would love the turn back the clock just a few years. I loved raising my kids, and tried especially to make many memories and spend much time with them. They say kids spell love t-i-m-e, and would rather have you than any thing you can buy for them.

My kids have now moved into young adulthood, starting careers, starting families, finishing up their education. I’m so proud of them and still love to hear about their day. They are scattered geographically, so it’s a treat whenever we can get together.

I challenge young fathers to make every moment count because time does fly when you’re having fun, and before you know it, they are grown and gone. And, remember, fathers have a tremendous influence in shaping their kids’ lives. We fathers are modeling before our kids, and they observe us very carefully.

So what kind of example are we setting? What do they see in our lives that will stick with them forever? I heard about one dad who took his preschool son with him to play nine holes. He wanted to expose his son to golf early.

The family gathered for a picnic afterwards and the four-year-old brought out his plastic, toy golf clubs.

“Hey, everybody, watch me play golf,” he said. He swung the golf club, said a bad word, and then threw his club into the nearest tree. He was modeling someone’s game, wasn’t he?

Then there was the father who always enjoyed a cigar after dinner. One summer on vacation at the beach, he was sitting on the porch enjoying his cigar. He’d smoke the cigar, set it down, then pick it up and set it down. He looked over after a few moments and there was his five-year-old daughter standing there with the big cigar in her mouth. The father decided that was his last cigar.

Too many fathers give good advice, but set a poor example. Some things aren’t all right, so we parents have to be so careful to send the right signals to our very observant and impressionable children.

Many years ago, a father purchased a newly released hymnal hot off the press. His young son found it and decided to take a pen and scribble on the inside. That evening when the father came home, he found his freshly-marked hymnal and marched into the living room where both his sons were sitting.

The older brother could tell by the younger brother’s reaction that he thought he was in trouble. But what happened next was wise and amazing.

The father, hymnal in hand, sat down between both boys, took a pen, and then wrote in the book himself, right by the scribbles his son had made.

He wrote: “John’s work, 1959, age two. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my hymnal. You have made the book sacred, as have your brother and sister to so much of my life.”

The scribbled-in hymnal became a treasured family possession, tangible proof that Dad valued persons more than things, and that he deeply valued his children.

Former Minnesota Twin Harmon Killebrew died May 17. The Hall of Fame slugger, 11th on baseball’s all-time home run list with 573, once shared, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say ‘you’re tearing up the grass.’”

My dad would tell her, “We’re not raising grass. We’re raising boys.”

That’s the privilege that God has given us dads, to raise godly kids in a godly home that honors the Lord.

Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.

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