Calling All Fathers - Can We Talk???
Being a father is a magical and humbling event, fathers go through many transformations as we and our children age. The Gospel according to Matthew starting in Chapter One from verse one to sixteen reads who beget whom. These are men who beget children through out the chapters in the Bible in this chaper of scripture.
In verse six of Chapter One, David who is King of Isreal beget Solomon, but from an affair with Uria’s wife. Despite this, Solomon grew to become one of the wisest men in history and anointed by God. In the face of the sin of David a good thing became of it. Reading further, in verse sixteen Jacob beget Joseph who went on to marry Mary who was carrying Jesus, later called Christ. Jesus was not the result of intercourse between Mary and Joseph, but from an event that is Biblical in nature. Joseph took upon the role and responsibility of an earthy father to Jesus and eventually a husband to Mary (Chapter 1:20). This shows that step-fathers are important to children that are part of the ''package'' of a relationship with a woman that has children.
The responsibilities of a father, step-father and husband are sometimes the result of influences and circumstances that are beyond understanding. Affairs of the heart and of the body cannot be justified, but God can bring a good thing from sin.
'He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1). Temptation comes in the flesh, and we are all tempted, but the result of fainting is in one’s flesh and spirit when we as men give in to the temptation. Being a man also includes making decisions not just for ourselves, but for others in our lives. In the case of Joseph (step-father to Jesus), how many men would care for and raise a child from a situation of Mary’s? Joseph listened to the Word of God after an angel spoke to him in a dream. How many men would listen or ignore those words that were spoken? What about David’s situation, many men have circum to the temptations of the flesh, but this does not mean the sin has to consume them. They need to pray for forgiveness and accept the responsibility of the sin and importantly not repeat it.
If through the course of sexual interaction a child is conceived, yes it is the man's and woman's responsibility to care for the child. The child did not ask to be brought into this world, but if the sex is consenual both parents are responcible for raising the child.
Birth and Sin
We are all born into a world of sin, but we do not have to have the world in us. God punished David for his sins as we all are punished, but as men we must recognize and respond accordingly to our sinful urges. We are models to younger men who watch us and seek guidance. This guidance does not always come in words, but in our actions.
Throughout time many men have not worshipped God openly to show their children a better prayer life, and how it can lead to a life filled with the presence of God. In John, Chapter 4:24 God is a spirit and we must worship in spirit and truth. Maybe this lack of open prayer and praise is one of the causes of so many of our young men going astray into a world of violence and sin.
Fathers, our spiritual energies do not compare to our emotional energies in our sports teams. How different would our lives be as fathers and men if our prayer life was as strong as our enthusiasm for our sports teams and hobbies? As men we love to model “manly behavior” for our sons in sporting events, but how many of us display the same amount of dedication and devotion in our prayer life? In Matthew Chapter 6:33, what should we seek in a prayer life? “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. How much of a difference would it make in children respecting their mothers and fathers if fathers are actively modeling respect? How much of a difference would it make if our children did pray as their fathers prayed throughout the day for guidance and wisdom? We cannot afford to be critical of those who worship in the name of God when their faith is strongly and openly displayed, but our faith is hidden behind embarrassment, shame or weakness. When emotions are displayed by men their sons follow suite, but be careful the type of emotions that are displayed. When was the last time you drank a beer watching football or hockey and thought or said, “I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to join me!” To coincide with this when was the last time we had our sons pray with us and share in devotion? Is it easier to share beer time than prayer (devotional) time? Is it easier to hang on the corner than hang in church?? Where are our priorities in raising our young men to be men. Where is the humor or love in sharing a beer and not a bible or scripture time?
The world is changing daily, as in Revelation Chapter 1:3 “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand”. The time is at hand now fathers when our young sons are killing each other for drugs, sex, weapons, and other things they view as momentarily satisfying, but easily fleeting. In Matthew Chapter 3:17 God says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. Our young men in today’s society need to hear this more from their fathers, if our heavenly father can say it to his son, why can’t earthly fathers say it to their sons? Maybe if this were the case, our young men not only in our Black communities, but other communities would not have as many violent deaths as they do. Let us all remember the three institutions that desire our children, Spiritual, Educational and Correctional institutions. It is up to us as men to guide our children to the correct institutions of Spiritual and Educational growth.
Fathers, Step-fathers and Grandfathers must realize the responsibility of their place in a child’s life regardless if they are in the home or not, regardless of the “Baby Mama Drama” that sometimes happens. It is cowardice to make excuses for not calling or writing just to say “I love you” and “How are you doing”. It is inexcusable for not taking time to eat lunch with your child, or visit them at their school, but we can take the time to “run with the boys”. How many more cases of our young men dropping out of school, physical aggression towards women, disrespect to authority and teachers, drugs, crime and violence will it take for more men to tell their sons, “I Love You” and ''I’m proud of you''.
Create a Balance
Fathering is a balance of prayer, discipline, love, negotiation, trust and communication. It does not come easy as I can testify being a parent of two, a son 17and daughter 13 who live in another city. Trying to be a parent and modeling from afar, but relying on God's grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness of my sins. Working to model for the young men in my life that I teach as an educator, and mentor to, being looked upon as a father figure and occasionally being called ''daddy'' by both boys and girls who lack a fathers presence in their lives or a positive male role model that they see. Other male teachers are also addressed as daddy from elementary to high schools in our school district. Every day I ask for God's grace and guidance in my teaching of the young people I see every day. I pray to keep me humble, calm, caring, respectful to all (even parents who cus you for taking care of their children everyday), strong in my faith and cover me from harm and danger of those who do not know the Lord or do not care for him.
Separation from Church and State
There is a separation of church and state, but I cannot separate God from my spirit and my heart when working with children who will be our leaders of the future. I just pray that more fathers allow God to come into their hearts and be the fathers and daddies that their children need. The goal as fathers and men is to help raise productive adults who will lead positive and God loving lives. As the African proverb states, “it takes a village to raise a leader” (Paterson, K 2001, http://www.racematters.org/ittakesavillage.htm).
Our villages; the multicultural community of Jacksonville, Florida, needs to unite all our young men and start loving and teaching our young men to pray and be prayerful in all things before we lose yet another generation. It is not the Mayors, the Governors, the City Council, the JSO, nor the Presidents responsibility to raise our young men, but the responsibility of men to raise men from Boys To Men. No one should be angry with Obama, Cosby, Jackson, Sharpton or me if we are telling the truth about men if they are not taking responsibility for their children. God views our actions and inactions, the results can be seen on our TV's, in newspapers and in our classrooms.
When are we going to live up to the legacy of Kings, Generals, Teachers, Physicians, Pastors, Scientists and community leaders? It takes a leader, but the men are supposed to lead first and pray for guidance in all things. We cannot throw money at the problems in our community nor increase the police or sheriff's department as the mayor has stated to address the problems we face with our young people. These are only preventive/stop gap measures that will address certain populations of our the community. It will take the interaction of fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers and male role models to step up and become involved in a young mans life and young girls life to guide them in the direction that builds character, a thirst for knowledge, success, education and a closeness with God.