This is my annual tribute to the Brotherhood on Father's
Day. I also hasten
to add that this is the FIRST Father's Day after the events of 9-11. So, for
Dads who are overseas in the various branches of military, you get a tip
of the hat from yours truly!
But I would also like to take the time to tip my
hat to those fathers who are out of the workforce, for one reason or another.
These men are tagged the 'Stay At Home' Fathers. They are still a vital
part of the brotherhood, and are worthy of our support. These men, and the men
who fill the ranks of Single Fathers, have NOT been getting a lot of respect,
as of late. Some think that there is something 'unnatural' about a father
being out in the workforce.
Sadly, there are going to be times when a
man's career is changed without his permission. Life DOES happen. A man cannot
help that the economy is going south, or his wife decides to 'walk' to 'find herself',
leaving HIM with the kids and the household.
These brothers are STILL our brothers, and deserve our support. Every man faces
reverses in life, from time to time. It is the responsibility for the brotherhood
to support them;
not distance themselves from them! After all--if the SAME situation happened
to you--YOU would like to know that there were men in your corner, ready to lend
a helping hand and advice. If you GIVE support, you will GET support when your
time of need comes around!
NEED FOR FATHERS HAS NOT DECREASED:
Over the years, America has evolved into the perfect 'disposable' society. If
anything goes against the PC crowd, or other venues of conventional wisdom, it
is quickly discarded and dispatched.
A few years ago, fatherhood fit
that description. Thanks to the socially ignorant in Washington, the social eggheads
in academia, and the social engineers in the ranks of the Left and the Right,
fathers and fatherhood were routinely 'dissed'. Then came the studies from the
Halls of Science.
Psychologists, MSWs, and even Criminologists touted
not only the need for active fathers; but general support for two-parent families.
Some of the studies suggested that Dad had more on the ball than many had given
him credit for in the recent past. Their end analysis: Father REALLY knew best
when it came to keeping the family going and growing.
I might also add
this word of warning: DON'T expect the feminized mainstream press to show much
support for fatherhood. Recently I came across an article that pointed out that
Hollywood is still turning out shows that show fathers as buffoons, idiots, and
It's going to take more of us, brothers, NOT watching
television, and NOT going to movies to pound the point into Hollywood and the
entertainment industry. I don't like to go to films where fatherhood, and manhood
are treated as an afterthought.
The reason why the new film 'Spider-Man'
has soundly whupped 'Harry Potter' at the box office: Peter Parker's Uncle Ben
taught the young man during his formative years: "With Great Power comes
Great Responsibility." That phrase has done a lot for me over the years.
Stan Lee also gets a tip of the hat from me. When he created this hero some
40 years ago, he put that driving principle into public display. You can't have
Spider-Man without realizing that his Uncle Ben--a surrogate father--played a
major role in his life.
COMIC STRIP SHALL LEAD THEM:
In April, 2002, the Sunday edition of the comic strip 'Curtis', by Ray Billingsley
pointed out the true need for fathers in a straight-up funny way. Curtis is the
young hero of the strip; having to wrestle with growing pains natural to a pre-teen.
In this particular strip, Curtis and his dad are talking about the youth's latest
mishap; deciding to 'cut' school on the advice of a friend. Of course, word about
this gets back to his parents. His dad takes him out on the streets of their
for some conversation and observation. The father and son happen across an old-looking
street person, and Curtis tosses the man some change. The father proceeds to
Curtis about the guy who led HIM to cut classes, and the temptation to do the
right thing; stay in school.
Needless to say, by the end of the strip,
Curtis asks his dad whatever happened to THAT guy; the guy who had 'all the answers',
and seemed to 'get away' with his bad attitude, rude manners, and 'drinking,
and chasing'. The father sadly replies, (and I'll paraphrase): "THAT was
the guy you gave the spare change to".
For the young people in
the house, 'Dad', just like 'Mom' has been where you've STILL got to go! Many
teens quickly forget that their fathers had to wrestle with a host of temptations
when THEY were growing up. While the temptations of today may 'seem' different,
in reality they are only 'souped up' versions of what WE had to face 'back in
That strip is a proud part of my 'advice' file; just ready
for any young person who thinks that skipping school will lead them to a better
life. In reality, there MAY be a street corner with YOUR name on it--IF you don't
listen to your Dad!
ADVICE FOR WIVES:
That same advice can also be transferred to the marriage relationship.
Mothers and fathers are different when it comes to discipline in the home. It
is a wise wife who realizes that her husband is the one who is head of the home,
the way God intended it to be. The wife that works to 'undercut' her husband to
please her friends--or her children--is courting TROUBLE with a capital T. This
is especially true in second-marriage relationships where children are involved,
and Dad is a Stepfather.
I have personally witnessed incidents where
second marriages have taken place, and the wife 'blocks' her new husband in the
area of parental discipline. Sadly, I have also seen, and heard of instances where
second marriages have been split up because one parent or the other let the children
rule the home, instead of the new spouse. After all, it's 'socially acceptable'
to paint step-parents with a dark brush. Even in fairy tales, the step parent
is looked upon as being 'evil' or 'hateful'.
Let me weigh in on this.
A Step father is even MORE of a father. He entered the situation by
choice; to raise another man's children and attempt to mold them into decent,
hard-working, upright young people. A Step father should NOT be abused, but should
be commended. He examples the BEST qualities of fatherhood and deserves our prayers
and support. A Step father CAN make a difference IF he is given his respect, and
Oh sure, it may be socially acceptable to 'dis' Step fathers.
But it is not wise. Nor will it help your children in the long run. Because the
day WILL come, sister, when YOUR children grow up, and may be in that situation
WORD OF PERSEVERANCE:
let's move on. If there were one trait that my father passed on to me, and I
have passed on to my children, it is the trait of perseverance. In other words,
keep on working at the job you have been handed, until it is finished. Yes, racism
exists. So does laziness, drunkenness, and all of the deadly sins. Add to this
list the fact that there ARE people out there who are just plain old MEAN, and
'get their kicks' by trying to inject their poison into others.
because they DO exist, a father must teach their children to work hard to bypass
the negatives, and focus on the positives of life. To develop a 'thick skin' against
these sins--and the people who carry them into the public arena.
takes a Mother to turn a girl into a woman. It takes a Father to turn a boy into
In our post 9-11 America, the lesson taught in the biblical illustration 'The
Prodigal Son' is ever more needed. That story is contained in the Gospel of Luke
in the New Testament. While much of the focus is on the son that strayed--and
the son that stayed--the father in the story is a model of what fatherhood should
THIS particular father understood both of his children. He knew
that one needed to forgive himself, and the other needed to forgive his brother
for being human. It's not enough to teach a child to forgive themselves, but to
not 'cop an attitude' toward those who have strayed off the path of life.
The most beautiful part of fatherhood is showing our wives and children how
to destroy those OTHER sins that folks don't like to talk about. Bitterness. Revenge.
Self-righteousness. Blaming others when the fault rests with the individual. These
sins ALSO creep into families on the sly. It takes a father to call sin what sin
is--and show their children and their wives how to get the log out of THEIR eyes,
whenever they spot a splinter in someone else's eye.
To the Dads in
the crowd--enjoy your Father's Day. We still NEED you! And a hearty WELCOME BACK.