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Worlds Greatest Dad?
There's only one World Series winner, one champion of the Superbowl, and only one takes home Olympic gold in a single event. How many World's Best Father's, Greatest Dads, Padre es Numero Uno can there be? On and around Father's Day the tee-shirts, ties and caps, bearing these claims are endless. I don't have the stats to prove it, but strung end-to-end, "best daddy gear" could stretch to the moon and back. Every dad's a 1st place winner on Father's Day.
Unfortunately, daddy does not enjoy such a good rap the rest of the year. There is a lot of Papa bashing going on. Go to the movies or turn on prime-time television. Dads are most often portrayed as; divorced-deadbeats who do not pay child support. If a dad is portrayed in the home at all, he is stupid or at the very least, ignorant of how anything works (including his wife). T.V. dad is more often absent than present, and never for good reason. He is missing-in-action, and not because he's out diligently working towards a better life for his family.
The day of the positive father role model has withered away. More likely he was assassinated. Bill Cosby's capable and lovable Heath Huxtable, is ancient history. He has been replaced by an often debase, lesser, lacking, loser dad. Mom and the kids get all the one-liners, and Pop is the butt of their jokes.
I refuse to believe that art is imitating life. The fathers that I know are still running behind bikes, cheering their kids on at ball games, teaching teenagers to drive, and schooling them about life in general. Sure there is the minority, the disappointing segment of 'loser' dads that give the rest a bad name. It is sorrowful that these few are recognized as the norm and not the "exception to the rule."
My own dear father could have been portrayed in a Norman Rockwell painting. As far as his children were concerned, the fun did not begin until he was present. Then the party was on! He was full of good ideas and would try anything once. One Christmas a long while ago, my siblings and I were returning home from different parts of the country. It was my husband's first Christmas with his new family. He and I arrived in the pre-dawn hours of a cold December morning. Sleepy-eyed I spied, above the garage door of my childhood home, a sign hung there by my father. In huge letters he had painted each of our names followed by the words, "WELCOME HOME." It hung there through the holidays and was not taken down until each of his returning children had seen it. Even today many years later I can envision him fashioning that sign. He was spurred on with anticipation. His welcome would be the first thing seen at the end of a long trip home.
My father embraced his kids and adored his wife. This is not to say he was perfect. No. In his later years he often lamented that he had made many mistakes while raising his children. Funny though, if he did, I could never have held it against him. Whatever mistakes he might have made, have been out-weighed by his unconditional love.
Speaking of unconditional love, I have knowledge of a daddy who had every reason to disown his son. His son denounced their relationship, ran away, and lived his life in complete denial of his upbringing and his loving father. He lived in opposition to everything he had been taught. He became a derelict and a good-for-nothing. Then, if you can believe the nerve of this ungrateful, disrespectful son, he came back home. He came crawling back, throwing himself on the mercy of his broken father. His father had been hurt so deeply that one could understand if he were to rub his son's nose in it, so to speak. This Papa could have had a "you made your bed" attitude towards his wayward son. Would it have been so unreasonable? But, lucky for the son, his father could wear the "Greatest Dad" tee shirt. He could sport the cap. He threw his arms around his stinky son and loved him, and then, dad called in all his friends for a huge barbecue. His son, whom had been as good as dead, was alive. Pop was overjoyed that his son who was lost, had been found!
The embroidered stitching on this dad's cap could have been read; Out of this World's Greatest Dad. This daddy was not of this world. He is the Heavenly Father, who throws his arms around stinky children who choose to come home. He unconditionally loves the rebellious, wayward child who has chosen to live in denial of the Father. He bids us with tender mercy, to come home. He welcomes us with open arms, and rejoices with the angels in heaven, at the repentance of a know it all child.
If you are away, ignoring the Father who loves you, living as though He doesn't exist, come home. He is waiting with an open embrace. He will not chide you for where you have been, but will rejoice that you've returned. Come Home. If you are wearily burdened, and in need of rest from a long and unfulfilled journey, come home. Your barbecue reception is ever warm. Come Home.
Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light."
(Dedicated to the mighty memory of a few earthly dads, who could wear the tee shirt and sport the cap, too.)
Wyatt Maxwell Toliver II, Harold Saget, Dick Florence, Benjamin Toliver II, James Page I, Wallace Page, Milton (Tex) Burow, Calvin Brown, Wyatt Maxwell Toliver I, Irvine White, Steve Ross, Cecil Walker Sr., Ted Fanzlaw, Rev. A. Bingham
I Peter 2:5
2 Timothy 1:12b-14
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