This is one of those weeks we don’t normally have an issue of Preaching Now, but since this Sunday is Fathers Day — and I’m a father — I just can’t resist. So here is a special Father’s Day mini-issue. Enjoy!
Michael Duduit, Editor
Click here to visit “I Was Just Thinking” (Michael’s blog) for insights and observations about faith and culture issues. Recent topic: The arrogant atheist.
If you’re at the SBC in San Antonio this week, then come by and say hello. I’ll be signing books in the LifeWay book area in the exhibit hall on Wednesday from 5-6 pm.
Top 10 Fathering Facts
From the National Center for Fathering (www.fathers.com)
An estimated 24.7 million children (36.3%) live absent from their biological father.
There are almost 17 million children (25%) living with their single mothers.
1.25 million or 32% of all births in 1995 were out-of-wedlock.
Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
One out of every six children is a stepchild.
There are nearly 1.9 million single fathers with children under 18.
4 out of every 10 cohabitating couples have children present, and of children born to cohabitating couples, only 4 out of 10 will see their parents marry. Those who do cohabitate experience a 50% higher divorce rate.
26% of absent fathers live in a different state than their children.
About 40% of the children who live in fatherless households haven’t seen their fathers in at least a year while 50% of children who don’t live with their fathers have never stepped foot in their father’s home.
Children who live absent from their biological fathers, on average, are more likely to be poor, experience educational, health, emotional and psychological problems, be victims of child abuse, and engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological mother and father.
ILLUSTRATION: Fathers, Faithfulness
It’s a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was flat as a pancake.
Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise.
Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire-fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone.
He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!”
Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!” (Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul.)
The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. “Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?” Five small voices answered in unison. “Okay, dad, you get the toy.” (James Buchanan, “The Importance of Fathers”)
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Ten things a teenage daughter doesn’t want to hear from her dad.
10. “Let me explain what ‘deductible’ means on car insurance.”
9. “Your mom’s almost ready. Where are we going on our double date?”
8. “Seems to me last year’s prom dress still has some life in it.”
7. “I signed us up for the pairs karaoke contest this Friday night.”
6. “We ate possum toes like popcorn when I was a kid.”
5. “Let’s get ice cream, my treat! Just let me grab my jar of coins.”
4. “I am proud that you decided to keep the family unibrow.”
3. “You don’t need to go shopping after all. I picked out a purse for you on my way home.”
2. “I ran into Bobby at the grocery store. I told him that you’re really hoping he’ll ask you to the dance.”
1. “By the way, I had to borrow your deodorant yesterday.” (www.fathers.com)
What my father means to me
The National Center for Fathering conducts Father of the Year Essay Contests in partnership with local schools and sponsoring organizations. In 2005, eight contests were held and altogether, over 100,000 school children submitted essays on the topic, “What my Father Means to Me.” Below is a sampling of essays from past contests:
“My dad is the best dad ever. I would kiss a pig for him.”
“My dad is a Frito-Lay man. That is an important job because Frito-Lay means chips, which is food. That is so important because you could not live without food.”
“The dad in my life isn’t really my dad. He’s my Grandpa. But he’s been like a dad to me since before I was born. . . .I hope that as I get older Grandpa will teach me all the stuff he knows about wood, and first-aid, and everything else he knows about. My Grandpa isn’t my Father, but I wouldn’t trade him for all the dads in the world.”
“Sometimes as a joke I’ll put my stinky socks in his briefcase, so at work the next day he will think of me! He’s always at the concerts and plays that I’m in, even though he lives about an hour away.”
“…You know what else my dad does? He braids my hair. I’m the only girl I know whose dad braids her hair. I think that’s a perfect dad. He already is the world’s greatest dad to me. I just wanted everyone to know that.”
“One time I had an assembly and I was a soloist and my dad was in the first row and after my song I smiled at my dad and my dad smiled back and started crying. That was the best thing I ever saw.”
And finally . . .
Perhaps not all men should be passing along their genes.
According to a June 1 Reuters story, a 43-year-old German man was airlifted to the hospital after he fell off a second-story balcony during a spitting contest with his 12-year-old son.
A spokesman for the police said the man in the east German town of Forst had apparently lost his balance after leaning too far forward in his attempt to outspit his son.
He tumbled over the ledge and landed on a balcony of the ground floor apartment.