By Carolyn Tomlin
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Since 1924 the third Sunday in June has been designated as Father’s Day. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the purpose of the day is “to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”
What are those obligations? The Bible offers guidance.
1. Love your family (1 John 3:23).
Joanne Sloan, co-founder of the Southern Christian Writers Conference and contributor to The Alabama Baptist, said her father, a World War II veteran, was always affectionate toward their family. She has many memories of her father telling her and her siblings he loved them. A small picture of her father kissing her mother reminds her even today of her father’s love, as does a special memory.
“One day during a trip my sister, brother and I were in the backseat of the car. Daddy turned around and said, ‘I love you kids so much. You will never know how much.’ He then turned to Mother beside him and said, ‘And I love your mother.’”
A father’s love is a great gift, Sloane said.
2. Create a peaceful home (2 Tim. 1:7).
Rhonda Reeves Galyean, former preschool editor for Woman’s Missionary Union, said her dad’s positive attitude made a big impression on her.
“Dad believed negative thoughts and attitudes weren’t biblical and reminded me often that a positive attitude brings honor and glory to God,” Galyean said. “He taught me God’s presence would always be with me [and that] God does not give you a spirit of fear and timidity, but ‘of power and of love and a sound mind.’ He loved and lived that Scripture!”
3. Show love through discipline (Prov. 3:11–12).
Children who have not been taught responsibility can’t be expected to make mature decisions. A time will come when someone will provide discipline — perhaps in the courts of law or other agencies. Because fathers love they discipline. Discipline should come in talking through the problem and listening with the heart as well as the head.
4. Set an example for your children (Prov. 20:7).
It was no secret. Everyone in the small town knew Dan’s father had drug problems.
“When he tells me I should not experiment with drugs his words carry little meaning. After all he’s been arrested several times and I’ve seen him buying drugs on the street,” Dan said.
‘Like my father’
In contrast Sidney’s father is known in the community for attending Sidney’s school activities, for being generous with benevolence organizations and for his involvement in church missions projects. “I want to be like my father when I have a family,” Sidney said.
5. Teach truthfulness and honesty (Prov. 23:15).
Anna, age 10, found a woman’s purse lying on the street near her home. Opening it, she discovered four $20 bills.
‘My parents taught me’
“For a moment I thought about keeping the money and never saying anything,” Anna said. “But I realized that wasn’t being honest. My parents taught me to tell the truth.”
Fortunately the purse was returned to its rightful owner thanks to identification found inside.
“Being able to return [the purse] gave me a wonderful feeling,” Anna said.
Being the father God intended requires time, patience and wisdom. This Father’s Day ask God to bless fathers and father figures as they teach lessons about life and living to children in their care.