Tips for Life
by Alan Bailey
“What dads leave in life is more significant than what they leave in death.”
When the word ‘father’ is mentioned, a concept comes to mind which is strongly influenced by one’s personal experience. For those who have a dad, or can remember, a set of impressions emerge. A few common ones would go like this:
The man I feared. I could never please him, never gain his approval. A sour memory.
The man who made my mother’s life miserable.
The distant, often absent man I wish I had known better.
The warm, thoughtful man who did so much to shape my life. I’m thankful for him.
What’s it all about?
Becoming a biological father is easy enough but carrying out the fatherly role calls for a wise head and a large heart. His job description is challenging and scary. The responsibility is enormous. He has the power to make a huge contribution to the lives in his care, and the power to just about ruin them.
Here are some things on his list of duties: loving, protecting, providing, disciplining, forgiving, planning, and listening. His goal is to developed an adult, well-adjusted, balanced and sensible.
Yes, it’s hard and long. This is why so many men chicken out and don’t do it, some simply vanishing into smoke. Without question, children un-fathered are being deprived.
Fathers must face the task squarely and with courage. They must determine to spend the time to be an available dad, prepared to do things with and for sons and daughters. His expressions of love and approval are pure gold to growing kids. A man who has values and stands firm on them will also practise discipline, not being afraid to confront and deal with bad behaviour, avoiding the extremes of being too soft or too hard. Those who squib this part will live to regret it.
The importance of inheritance
As a rule, fathers plan to leave something to their offspring. What they leave in life will be more significant than what they leave in death. By his example and by what he believes and talks about, a father can pass on what is of central importance to him. If he helps a son to be successful in business or to be a sporting star, then, so far so good. But he ought not to fail to show what life is all about, its purpose and meaning — what is worth living for, and worth dying for?
A man who knows God as his Father will work and pray to the end that his offspring will come to this point also. Not by coercion, but by relying on the influence of God Himself, the ultimate Father. When we enter the family of God through Jesus Christ, we enjoy His perfect fatherhood. He intends the generations to be bonded together by the truth, rather than torn, scattered, and divided.
Many a macho man would do well to recognise his own weakness and desperate need and get down on his knees and ask God for help. We all need it.