By David Hegg
I write today as a son, a father, and a grandfather, and never in my life have I sensed the need for father power in our country. So many of the challenges we face as a people can be overcome if we recover a strong culture of father power. Dads … our kids need us in lots of ways, but here are a few that stand out.
1. Daddy, love Mommy: The greatest gift any Dad can give his kids is to love their Mom. All across our nation we are watching as families decay due to a lack of perseverance in marriage. And what’s behind it? Primarily it is a commitment to personal comfort over marital commitment. We are watching men who would rather walk out than work through. Among the challenges our modern, fast-paced, technologically flooded, and consumer-driven society throws at us, nothing is more pervasive than the selfishness that quickly chooses flight over fighting fairly and lovingly for marriage, family, and most of all, our children.
2. Daddy, don’t raise me with a sense of entitlement: Dad, we are awash in generation after generation that were raised to believe, “You can have it your way!” Ask any hiring manager and they will tell you finding good people willing to work hard, learn the business, and “pay their dues” is extremely difficult. Dad, teach your kids that working hard comes before achievement, and achievement always precedes recognition and reward.
3. Daddy, teach me to think logically, and have discernment: We’ve all noticed what social media has done to the idea of reliability when it comes to assertions, reports, declarations, and reviews. We are experiencing a famine of truthfulness and our kids need to be prepared to analyze what they are told, and logically and fairly discern what is actually aligned with reality. This will not only help them understand what to believe, but also guide them away from irrational life choices that can cause their lives to spiral downward.
4. Daddy, show me how to love, show compassion and forgive: Dad, look around and you’ll see we’re becoming a harsh, critical, and bitter society. We’re losing what it means to be a good friend, good neighbors, and compassionate, forgiving people. It is clear that we are now known, not only for who we love, but even more for who we hate. And that hate is a poison that eats away at its container. Dad, love your kids, teach them the strength of compassion, and the blessedness of true forgiveness.
5. Daddy, be there for me when life gets hard: What we need today is a revolution in nobility among men. Dad, your kids need a hero who is courageous and compassionate. They need a champion with unassailable integrity, who is trustworthy and faithful no matter what. And they need you to be there for them when life comes in packages they can’t handle. Yes, this will mean giving up what you may enjoy in order to be there for kids. The sentiment that “quality time” makes up for a lack of “quantity time” simply isn’t true. Your kids need you to be present, to read a story, throw a ball, watch a recital, cheer their race, or just hear you say, “Love you, and am so proud of you!”
Over the years I have generally achieved some level of what this world would call success. But, far and away the success that I truly care about is my family. God has been so gracious to my wife and me as we look to celebrate 42 years of a marriage that is healthy, fun and truly satisfying, and has been graced with three children. All three of them have grown to be incredible adults, have married well, are active in serving their church and community, and – incredibly – love their parents.
On this Father’s Day I salute my children, and yours. I salute the Dads who hold the greatest power to influence the next generation. And I challenge you to do your Dad work with great intentionality. And if God works through you to raise great kids, he may reward you with grandchildren, which, I have to tell you, are so great you’ll wonder why you didn’t have them first.
David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident.“Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.