Saturday, August 4, 2007

Father's Day. . .

What does father mean? I like using the context of Bible usage to define words. I did a search on 'father' in the Bible, 1720 times is the word 'father' contained in scripture. Are fathers important in scripture? The word 'mother' is only found 329 times. To look at the contexts of the word 'mother' would be difficult this morning, to even scan the instances of the word 'father' is impossible.

What is a father? There is such a broad range of meanings. At its minimum it requires only half a cell from a man's body. A sperm cell only has half the genetic material required for life. It is nothing on its own, but a little packet of DNA with a tail. That is all that is required for minimalist fatherhood. The woman's egg waits for this little insignificant spark of life to join with it, then the magic and wonder begins. From this beginning a new life is created totally within the mother's womb. Hidden from the world, isolated and independent from the father.

The bond between mother and child is first, always stronger than any other, inherent, foundational, totally enmeshed a part of each other from the beginning, and independent of the father. To some this Independence seems to mean that the father is not necessary, an accessory and not a requirement. Look at the world around us. Many of the ills of our society are the result of men contributing sperm and little else in their children's lives.

I've asked at meetings in the jail, for anyone who was raised as a child, with their father in the home to raise their hands, it is rare for anyone to do so. Men with fathers don't very often go to jail. To spawn a life only requires a spark, but it will often be a life that is out of control as a result of just a spark. It will rage and burn with few limits.

The word father is mentioned so many times in the Bible because it is through our father's that we receive our identity. This is more than just our genealogy. How we view ourselves comes from our father. This is not merely some male chauvinistic artifact from the past, as some would have us believe. This is truth. A mother's love teaches us how to love others. A father's love shows us how to love ourselves.

From the very beginning an infant recognizes its mother's voice from within the womb. The voice of a father is another thing entirely. It has to be learned. Trust comes in steps, not from the beginning. The father's voice comes with the world. If your mother doesn't love you, there is something wrong with the world. If your father doesn't love you, there is something wrong with you. A father's love is voluntary. It is not a given. It has to be a decision on the part of the father to love and if he decides not to love you, you assume the burden for yourself rather than put it on him. . .

I was a fool. I was not a very good father in many ways. I was so very selfish. I cannot undo the past. Do not make the mistakes I made, at any cost stay in your children's lives. Let them see themselves reflected in your love for them. Let them learn to value and respect themselves through your value and respect for them. Love your children as your heavenly Father loves you. . . .

Dave Stokely
Father's Day 2007

Happy Father's day Dad

I love you. . .

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