A righteous man walks in his integrity – How blessed are his children after him.
I’ve been clipping articles on fathers for months from numerous publications I regularly read. That would include everything from our local Clarion Ledger to the Wall Street Journal, World magazine, Newsweek and more. I’ve noticed we have a real father crisis in our country these days. Our own state ranks number one in the nation when it comes to fatherless children.
Statistics as predictors for the future quality of life for fatherless children paint a grim picture. As far back as the mid 1990’s studies by a wide range of sociologists and pollsters concur. Virtually all major social pathologies have has been linked to fatherlessness: violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, teen pregnancy, suicide—all correlate more strongly to fatherlessness than to any other single factor. The majority of prisoners, juvenile detention inmates, high school dropouts, pregnant teenagers, adolescent murderers, and rapists all come from fatherless homes.
A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Are Dads the New Moms?” reported that there is a growing trend in our ever “evolving” rejection of traditional marriage for men to want to complete their education and find a stable job before they commit to marriage, but not necessarily before they “commit” to fatherhood. Say what?
There is no question that this is not a simple political issue. Fatherlessness is a symptom of a culture that seems to have lost its way.
We need something bigger and a lot more effective than a government program. We need a healing of supernatural proportions. The parable of the vine and the branches has never appeared to be more relevant. “I am the vine; you are the branches…for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). The powers that be, by sheer blunder, illustrate the wisdom in those words every day in a million ways. If “progress” is defined as “steady movement toward improvement,” then it seems to me we are going in the opposite direction.
When Vince Gordon and I sat down to talk, he said that after he gave his life to Christ and began this new relationship with God, he could understand all the names of God except one – Father. Master, Creator God, Lord., Savior…those roles he could embrace. But he had no frame of reference for what a good father was like. It took time and growth and God’s grace to draw him into the precious relationship that is the birth right of every believer.
Our contributing writers have presented several sides of fathers in this month’s issue. Most fathers don’t sit down with a manual and say to their offspring, “This is lesson one. I’m going to teach you how to have integrity.” Nevertheless, a father teaches every time he interacts with anyone because children are always watching and learning even the lessons a father does not mean to teach! Martin Willoughby’s intentional blueprint to guide his young son to manhood will resonate with every father figure who reads “The Way I See It.” A few of our readers have given their own tributes to their fathers in our “Family Focus,” and Robin O’Bryant in “Modern Motherhood” shares a memory of her dad and a teachable moment that was both practical and profound. Her dad sounds a whole lot like my own Dubb Hemphill.
Missionary Mike Boyett, in “Our Daily Bread” tells a true tale of reconciliation and forgiveness between an estranged father and son in Uganda. The setting may be on the other side of the world, but the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship and the healing power of Jesus Christ make this story a most inspiring and comforting read.
Our “Salt and Light” column is for all animal lovers this month. It had to be a “God thing” that I had a scheduled interview with Pippa Jackson of the Animal Rescue Foundation of Mississippi one day after I had to unexpectedly put my beloved Daisy Dog to sleep. I can’t say I was in great shape that day although I was probably more tuned in than ever to the plight of a suffering animal. What ARF is doing on behalf of helpless neglected or abused animals is every bit God’s work. Take a look at the “before” and “after” photos of some of their rescues. What beautiful pictures of the word, “redemption.” I can definitely wrap my mind around the concept.
Recipes, Rave Reviews, Quips and Quotes – they are all here and guarantee that you will enjoy our June issue as much as we have enjoyed putting it together for you.
Happy Father’s Day!