Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Over the time of their engagement (even long before), my son had to work through the ramifications of the failure to keep wedding vows by his parents, and the effect it has on the children (regardless of their ages). He had explained to his Katie the stand I have taken long ago, when he was just a baby, and again to her parents. Over his lifetime, he had heard me often speaking of the permanence and indissolubility of Marriage.

But he had also heard me very often say that he (and his sisters) MUST respect their father as the father. There were several times that each had asked permission to do something that I felt was more of a father's decision than mine to make, and I had told each that before I made the final decision, they had to go to their Dad to get his opinion, and that opinion would be respected. There was very few times that my decision was different than what he told them.

As sole custodial parent by court order, I did not have to include their father. That fact was pointed out to me many times by my children when they did not want to go and ask him. But I reminded them that God had given fathers a role, a position, a place in the family which MUST be respected and honored, even if some things that he had done (and did)... did not need to be respected.

Alanon and AA talks about principles over personalities. I called it respecting the person, while not accepting unacceptable behavior. They did not need to like what others did, but they did have to treat the person with dignity and respect as a person.... including their father.

While he had chosen to go back on his word to me many times, including his wedding vows, he was still their father, answerable to God for his children. There were times that he failed there, also, and broke promises (especially to his third child, his son). But there was no way that I could justify 'removing' him from what God had intended when we were allowed to become parents of our three children. When health and/or safety or morals were not the issue, those three children needed the input of a male chosen by God to be their Dad. Though it was difficult at times, I had to honor that role, that position, that 'office' myself, or fail my children as their mother.

One time, and one time only, I did NOT accept a decision that was made, because it would directly affect the future of my son. When asked to sign a form agreeing to pay for the head gear for our son, the response was anger and a cancellation of the appointment. There had been no discussion about it, just a deliberate unilateral decision to refuse treatment that was deemed necessary solely because it would cost a relatively small amount of money.

It was the only time that I defied his father's parental role and stepped FULLY into the sole custodial parental role, and reinstated that appointment. My son had his head gear, and later did not need braces other than to close spaces and straighten out the slight Class II bite he had. Several years later, while I was working for a dental firm that provided orthodontic work for employees and family members for two years' employment and $800.00, my son decided that he wanted to go through with that final part of treatment, and his father chose once again to refuse to pay for his half of the cost. I do not regret going against his decision, for it was a matter of health for my son.

Children need Fathers. Today's society tries to make that role out to be unnecessary. Fathers are mocked on many sit-coms, many cartoons, and even some movies.

Those kinds of programs were not allowed in our home. Each time that a child tried to tell me that it was 'only a show', I responded by telling them that this is the kind of show that does harm to the viewers, AND to the fathers. Some of those programs also made mothers look just as stupid as the fathers, with the child or teen knowing more than the parents.

And I used the words that this kind of programming does... brain-washing, propagandizing.

Children NEED fathers. But more, children need fathers to BE fathers, to take responsibility for the children God gave them. They need to be taught how to be a man, if a son, and how to be respected and cherished by a man, if a daughter.

They need to know the love of their father in order to know the Love of their Father.

For those fathers who carry out their roles as the head of their families, this is a tremendous responsibility for which they will answer 'when they meet their Maker', and hear "Well done, good and faithful servant'. For those who do not, who desert their families and their children, and abrogate their responsibility, the words will NOT be kindly. While mothers have to answer for our own failures, God Himself holds the father to be the head, the one responsible for the family.

It is an awesome responsibility.

Our job as parents is to lead our children back to God, who has allowed us to BE their parents. The greatest gift you can give your children is to love their mother, (I believe that Josh McDowell said that). Love is a CHOICE, not a feeling!! The second greatest gift you can give your children is yourself.

For those who are parenting as God intended, Bless you.

For those who have not been accepting the responsibility God has given you, it is not too late
to begin to parent, to father your children, to become the person in your children's lives, regardless of their ages, to make amends for any failure, to keep your word, to provide for them.

Children learn by example. Happy Father's Day!

“ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ”- Ephesians 6:4

Cat's in the Cradle
by Sandy & Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

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"Oh, if a man tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man's life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world?" -- Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.



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