Tomorrow is Father’s Day, which reminds me of baseball player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday, who once said, “Give a child a good mother and any old stick will do for a father.”
Certainly, the importance of a mother is not to be minimized in the life of any child. I was fortunate to have a godly mother, and I always will be grateful for her influence on my life.
However, I would have to disagree with Mr. Sunday’s conclusion. Studies have shown conclusively that a good father makes a radical and marvelous difference in the lives of children. This is true for both sons and daughters.
Again, I am fortunate to have a dad who loves my sister and me unconditionally but also who held us accountable when necessary. I talk to him by phone every day and continue to lean on him for advice and encouragement.
But I know not everyone has been blessed as I have been. There are those today without a father or who might have been better off without the one that they have (or did have).
Knowing that leads me to offer a series of challenges to the men reading this column. Ladies, feel free to hand this to your husbands.
Men, my first challenge is for those who have children of any age: Strive to be the best dad you can be. Love your child. Encourage your child. Help your child be all that God wants him or her to be.
Secondly, men, volunteer at your church. Serve in a preschool or children’s Sunday school class. Work in vacation Bible school. Lead a boys’ group. Do something to serve as a mentor in your church. Your pastor will be thrilled. You can make a difference in the lives of those boys. Every age group needs men to serve in leadership roles.
Third, find a place outside of church to volunteer. Coach a sports team. Lead a Scout pack. Offer to take a boy fishing. Just play catch. You can be certain there is a single mother in your church or community. Be a mentor to her children (with both her consent and that of your own wife).
Finally – and I say this seriously – speak with your wife about the possibility of adopting a child. Many children need homes. The church and Christians have been too silent and inactive for too long on this issue. Prayerfully consider if this is something you can do.
Not everyone will or should adopt. But some can. You could save a life. You can make an eternal difference.
Not everyone will accept all of these challenges, but I hope you will consider them carefully and prayerfully. God has placed us here to make a difference.
Men, do your part. Ask God for direction and opportunities. You can make a difference. Even more, you can be a difference.