Fathers: Are they needed?


We are living in in-between times. What I mean by that is that there are a few times during the year when we find ourselves in between holidays. Sometimes those holidays arrive so quickly that we barely have time to think about one when the second holiday is upon us.

That very situation occurred this past week. We had barely celebrated Flag Day when Father’s Day happens. Granted, some of the holidays are not considered as important on a national scale as others, but nonetheless we want to spend some time honoring them. Last week, we looked at Flag Day. This week we reflect upon Father’s Day.

Father’s Day for many has always been a secondary holiday to Mother’s Day. In fact, it was never even celebrated as a holiday until after Mother’s Day had become an official national holiday in 1914.

But lately this holiday and the people it represents and honors have come under fire. Mitch Albom, author of the international best-seller “Tuesdays with Morrie” in an article entitled, “When did fathers become expendable?” (Detroit Free Press, 6-22-14), he described what happened on “The View”, a television show with a vast female audience:

“A guest host, an actor named Terry Crews, had floated the idea that ‘there are some things only a father can give you.’ He was deluged by objection — both on social media and on the set. When he said, ‘A father gives you your name,’ cohost Whoopi Goldberg joked, ‘Like in The Lion King?’ When he said, ‘a father gives you your security’ and ‘your confidence,’ cohost Jenny McCarthy, who is raising a son on her own, shot back, ‘I’m a single mother and I guarantee you, I can give (my son) all those things.’ The debate went on for several minutes at a high volume, with the female hosts paying homage to widows, single moms, and gay couples, and McCarthy hammering at the idea that her ‘ “amazing” son needs no man.”

Albom pondered how far we have come that on network TV a man suggesting “there are some things only a father can give you” is greeted not with agreeing nods but with cannon fire.

According to many sociological surveys, many of the problems in inner cities today —drugs, gangs, violence – that seem so prevailing in our culture stem from one major factor: the absence of a father in the home. I am not saying that mothers do not do outstanding jobs in rearing their children. But I am hopefully demonstrating how important it is for a father to be “present and accounted for” in the home!

I know my mother was not the only one who said to her children (more than once), “Just wait till your father gets home!” No matter how much she tried to use that as a threat to entice good behavior on my part, I also remember how grateful I was for that comment, for my father tended to be much more gracious than my mother, although he always — ALWAYS — supported her, but tried to do so in a kinder way.

My most pronounced memories of my Dad were similar to the little boy who bruised his knee and needed his Daddy to fix it up. With tears streaming down his face, he ran to see his Daddy. Seeing him coming, the [secretary] quickly opened the massive doors and let him into his Daddy’s office. His father was busy managing his business and was surrounded by his assistants. But in the midst of all of this, the little boy ran up to his father and climbed onto his waiting lap. What do you think his Daddy did? Pushed his son aside and had him removed from the room? No! Daddy’s first response was “where does it hurt and how can I make it better?”

Albom concluded his article with the following analysis, which adequately and accurately sums up the value of my father to me and fathers in general:

“What does a father bring to the table? I can cite a few things I got from my own: Strength. Quiet confidence. Discipline. Responsibility. And love — all displayed differently than my mother, which was fine,” Crews said. “My father also taught us how to be a husband, how to respect a woman, when to lead and when to support.

“It’s true, not all men are like my dad. But plenty are. And fatherhood didn’t suddenly, after thousands of years, lose its value. It may be trendy to dismiss dads as little more than fertilizer, but it’s not true. In fact, it’s pretty foolish,”

Albom said.

Such is our world, where a comment like Crews’ brings a tsunami. Funny thing is, I remember someone from my childhood frequently saying, “He needs his father to do that.”

It was my mother.

By the way, for the true Christ-follower in the real world today, when we need our (heavenly) Father (and we always do), we have direct access to Him through Jesus Christ. And in the middle of His managing the Kingdom, He invites us to sit in His lap to tell Him where it hurts.

Happy Father’s Day — a few days late!

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor who now resides in Florida. He can be reached at cdtabor3@gmail.com.

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