Virtually any male can enable conceive a child. All too few stay around and function in such a way as to be a good father. Their children suffer and they lose some of life’s greatest joys.

Tonight nearly 45% of the children in America will go to bed where their biological father does not live. More than 25 million of these children will learn about fatherhood by watching TV. The role they see isn’t a good one. Of the 100 shows involving families only 15 feature a father as a main character on a regular basis. Most of these are not positive roles. That poses a tremendous threat to the next generation.

In the Broadway play “Fanny” the female lead conceives and her lover leaves. Later Fanny marries a loveable character who loves the child as she. The male who was responsible for the conception returns and demands the child, stating he is the father. Fanny’s husband asks, “Who is the father? The one who gives birth and buys diapers or the one who loves?”

Every child needs and deserves expressed love, balanced compassionate discipline, lots of encouragement, and a knowledge of the love of God. Thus, you can train up a child in the way he or she should go.

One of the Ten Commandments states: “Honor your father and your mother....”

Here is a worthy question. Dad, are you honorable? What have you done that makes you honorable? That is, worthy of honor. Before drifting away from that thought rephrase it to, “What can I do to be more deserving of honor?”

While relating to questions consider this. Dad, are you fun with which to live? Push the envelop, would you have fun living with a person like you? There is nothing about being a “fun to live with” person that takes away honor. It increases it.

Next question. What quantity of time do you spend with the family? Often the response is that it is not the quantity of time but the quality of time that matters. Carry that to its logical conclusion the next time you go to a steakhouse. Order the very best quality one ounce steak on the menu. Quality and quantity do not only make for a satisfactory meal, but for satisfying family relations. It takes time to be a good dad.

I complimented the CEO of one of the nation’s largest companies on his successful career as he was retiring. With a note of sadness he expressed appreciation and then made a most grievous statement. He recounted how his hard work had paid off in his profession but that it cost him his children. Lugubriously he said, “If I had it all to do over my family would come first.”

We can learn things experientially or academically. Dads, you don’t have to learn experientially by losing your children.

As a dad who knows the delights experienced in fatherhood, I commend it to all who have children. The two daughters Trudy and I have and the two sons-in-love they brought home as husbands along with their children are among the most gratifying aspects of our lives. I relish that prospect for every parent.

The prayer of the ancient prophet Malachi (3:17) needs to be prayed today: “...turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.”

Be an honorable, fun to live with, dad who spends time with the family sharing love like our Heavenly Father. It is fulfilling.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.

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(1) comment

George Don Spruill

Dr. Price, good advice. If only those men who have abandoned their roles as fathers would follow it…beginning tomorrow on Father’s Day.

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