Fathers And Their Influence

BAYTOWN, TX – Yesterday was father’s day. I am in Baytown, Tx. to see my dad this year. Our family cooked up some barbecue and got together to celebrate. I think my dad had a good time. He was ready to go about an hour after dinner though. Sometimes I think we forget that he is seventy something years old. We sometimes think he is purposely being anti-social but really he is just tired.

When he was younger he was never the first one to want to leave a party. Things are different now. My dad worked at U.S. Steel for over 20 years. I worked there with him for just a few weeks one summer. I couldn’t take it. The work was extraordinarily hard for a young man yet, my dad who is much older than  I am seemed to do it with no problem – and he did it for a long time. I can only imagine what it feels like to live in his body today. I’m sure being tired is just the beginning.

When his job there ended he got another job at a grocery store and worked another 20 years, and retired again. He is now hoping that the school district will call him for a custodial job in a few days. He is not yet ready to sit down and take it easy.

They are a different breed, my dad’s generation. They are hard working. They are people who believe in working to provide for the family. They didn’t just work hard to have things. They worked hard to keep their families together. This generation was not so quick to get divorced. Things were not always easy in my parent’s marriage but they knew the importance of staying married. Or perhaps like Johnny Taylor sang in one of his songs, my dad knew that “It’s Cheaper To Keep Her.”

They’re just not the type of people who give up so easily. Yesterday we honored my dad on Father’s day and we were glad to do it. Being a dad can be hard. We are the ones who have to say no to our children. We are expected by the Lord to guide them and make sure they get started on the right track in life. Sometimes it is really difficult, even overwhelming, but it is not impossible. It just takes consistency.

My dad didn’t have any special insight as far as being a parent. I would even say that many times he didn’t know what he was doing. However, there were areas where he was consistent, like the irritating saying he would repeat over and over. He had simple messages. One in particular that I heard for as long as I can remember living with him was, “Boy, if you don’t work, ain’t nobody gonna feed ya.” All of us kids got tired of hearing it. Especially me. It worked though. None of us kids has ever been without the means to support ourselves in some way in our adult lives.  None of us has ever given up.We all work hard because we saw him work hard.

I hope you all had a great Father’s Day. And I hope you all thanked your dads and gave them honor. Even if you don’t think you had a very good dad you should have honored him by at least saying, “Happy Father’s Day.” If he didn’t deserve it you should have done it anyway. Why? Because the Lord says “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” The children will do what they see the parents do. If you don’t honor your father and mother, how can you expect to be honored by your children? They will do what you do. Your life is an open book to them, and to the people, you see every day for that matter. You are a major influence so be a good one.

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