Fathers Matter

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4 mins read

The Bible is a fount of wisdom. Both the Old and New Testaments provide a guide to life, a map of how to get there from here. The Bible is filled with stories about people who didn’t have a map or didn’t have the wisdom they needed, and God provided.

I am a big fan of the Ten Commandments. If we all followed the ten, then we would all get along much better. An interesting thing about the ten commandments is that eight are proscriptive and two are prescriptive. Eight of the commands tell you what not to do, and two tell you what to do.

The two prescriptive commands are “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” and “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

God tells us to honor our our father and mother. He doesn’t say to like them or love them. He says “honor” them. And God doesn’t put any qualifiers on this command. He doesn’t say, “Honor them, only if they are good people,” or, “Honor them only if they vote like you do.” And what might be hard for many to hear, God doesn’t say, “Honor them unless they did something bad to you.”

The command is clear, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” To honor someone is to “to regard or treat with admiration and respect, to give special recognition to.”

Why do you suppose God commands us to honor our fathers and mothers? How does giving that honor make our days long in the land? I think part of it is recognizing authority. By honoring our father and mother, we recognize their authority over us. That helps us recognize God’s authority and other forms of earthly authority. If we don’t understand how authority works in this world, then we’re going to have a tough row to hoe.

Are children today taught to honor their father and mother? Many of them don’t even have fathers. What percentage of the looters and people tearing down statues have fathers in their lives? If they do have dads, are they taught to honor them?

According to a December article from Pew Research Center, almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%). And women are more likely than men to be single parents.

If you have a good father, you are blessed. Honor him and tell him how much you appreciate him. If you have a bad father, you are blessed, honor him. If you are a father, be a good one to your children. Fathers matters.

Happy Fathers Day.

American son of the Appalachian mountains. Happily married father of several and devoted man of God. Hold fast.

2 Comments

  1. Easier said than done, to be sure.

    I called my father to with him a happy fathers’s day. He’s elderly (90s), and in a nursing home that’s been locked down for way too long, and the Wuhan Flu has swept through. He and mom pulled through that OK, but he’s pretty grumpy at not being able to get out more. It’s nearly solitary confinement.

    We made small talk, and he brought up part of a local new item. I agreed with him, and he replied with a condescending, dismissive remark to the effect of “so nice of you, the expert on everything, to think the governor is right.” It was both dismissive and condescending. He’s treated me like I’m still five years old, either simply arguing to be contrary if I disagree, or like an idiot child parroting words I don’t understand if I do agree, since I really was five. he is that way to all of my siblings, but me even more so as I’m the youngest. I’m successful enough, happy with my family, good kids, but he gives our thoughts and opinions on things pretty close to zero weight. OTOH anyone with a white lab coat or a dark skin and foreign accent all but walks on water. The old man is smart, and fairly widely read, but has some huge blinders and, uh, “interpersonal communication quirks” shall we say, and holy cow… some days it’s really hard to hold my tongue. But I did, as best I could. Given his age, he’s not likely to change in his time left on this world. I can mostly put up with it for a while longer.

    Thanks for the timely reminder.

    • I hear you, but I think you did the right thing. I have children, too, and I always try to remember to be a good example. But, like you say, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

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