By Luann Anderson, Editor at YWAM Publishing
My 79-year-old father is an excellent hands-on tradesman. For as long as I can remember, he’s served as his own contractor for myriad demolition, design, and building projects. He’s fostered many practical labor skills in his five children as well. I have vivid childhood memories of helping my dad on the roof of our cabin one summer, throwing timeworn shingles to the ground below as he wrenched them out one by one with a crowbar. Later, it was my job to pull nails out of each shingle with that same crowbar. What practical skills did I learn from this monotonous task? Diligence and hard work, for sure.
The exalted position of a father was well stated by American general Douglas MacArthur, who said: “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder—infinitely prouder—to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, ‘Our Father who art in heaven.’”
MacArthur became a father at age 58, but he lived his entire life devoted to God, country, and mankind. Much of what he learned about life, leadership, and parenthood came from watching his father and listening to his mother. MacArthur’s dad, also a United States Army lieutenant general, so influenced young Douglas that he followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a celebrated military strategist and patriotic leader.
“You couldn’t shrug your shoulders at Douglas MacArthur,” observes historian David McCullough. Many of us can say the same thing about our own fathers, grandfathers, and father figures. However they bless us—practically, spiritually, lovingly—we honor them. We thank them for seeing us through the battalions of life and offering us a legacy to share with our children.
Proverbs 20:7 says, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity—how blessed are his sons after him.” Each Father’s Day gives us opportunity to acknowledge our dads and our heavenly Father. I can’t think of a better mission to accomplish.