Food for thought for families…

As is often the case, I’m up, busily working around the house this morning getting ready for my day, and thoughts are pressing in on my mind that I feel compelled to share…

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, all of these days bring about reflection and deep thought about these lives we live and share. As I was thinking about Father’s Day again to day, it struck me how sad it is that so many children grow up without a father, or with a father who fails them by seeking their own pursuits instead of cherishing and fostering the relationship with the child.

As I pondered these things this morning and yesterday evening as well, I realized so clearly that those things of lasting significance in my own life are relationships with others. Days come and go, seasons too, “things” hold value for us for a while and then lose their luster over time and bring no joy, no good, no richness to our lives, but relationships…they are woven into a lasting tapestry that becomes more and more beautiful, endearing, and precious with the passing of time.

Time and experience teaches us that life on earth does not last forever. Those old hands of our Grandparents fold in death’s sleep and we are forced to bid them good-bye for the last time. We even lose young friends tragically or to early death due to disease as I did at age 11, when death I could no longer assign in my mind to only the older folks in my world. I remember struggling so hard with watching my sweet 16 year old friend’s body wither and die from cancer, such an ugly, horrible word that suddenly appeared and changed my understanding forever.

Death of loved ones, very early on, taught me to love deeply, not to take life for granted, to celebrate friends and opportunities to be together…for that I am grateful.

When I see people failing to embrace one another in love, my heart hurts because of the knowing I have deep down inside that they are missing out on the true beauty in life. Why hurt others when we can choose instead to love them?

I well remember studying in one of my psychology classes years ago about the ravages of abuse in the lives of children. The term, “abuse” is defined as “1. To use wrongly. mistreat. 3. to insult; revile 4. insulting language.” One of the astounding findings of one of the research studies we looked at indicated that a child who witnesses his mother being “abused” by his father suffers more emotional damage than when the child himself is the target of the father’s abuse. Think on that…When we let that sink in, we can see those deep relational, loving ties within the family that causes the heartache of one to wound the heart of another. Nothing is ever worth inflicting damage on a child. I look and listen to what is happening in our world and I ask, “what are we thinking?” Pride, having our own way, pleasure, none of these things yield benefit worth the cost to our family relationships or friendships.

Oh Daddies, on this Father’s Day and always, love your wives before the eyes of your children. Let them see you lovingly cherish their mothers. Be a source of joy and comfort and care in your homes! Show your children how to love, how to honor, how to create havens of peace in this world! There is no greater success in life than being a man or woman who honors God with life by loving others and teaching them to do the same.

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