Sunday, June 16, 2013

52 Blessings - Good Dads

I love to watch good dads interact with their kids.  When I make a list of ten things that make me smile, it's always on it . . . right above getting ice cream cones, so of course I would love this video.

We're all concerned with society's shift of standards.  One Sunday night my nephew, who then lived in a large inner-city, was expressing his concerns about the lack of men and fathers in his area to carry responsibility. He said that fathers were few and far between where he lived and consequently the community was weak. His words resonated with an article that a criminal court judge once wrote entitled, Nine Words That Can Stop Juvenile Delinquency.1 The judge suggested that the nine words were, “put father back at the head of the family.” My nephew’s views were similar, “We need whole families - families with husbands and fathers.”

James E. Faust, a former family lawyer, quoted an article he had read in a newspaper. The article said, “Social scientists across the political spectrum tell us that father absence is a stronger predictor of criminal behavior than family income, education, or . . . race. And while individual youngsters can manage life without father reasonably well in many cases, few are able to come unscathed through fatherless communities.”2
All of this to say, Happy Father’s Day and thank you to good fathers everywhere. We frequently give tributes to mothers, and rightly so, yet sadly, fathers often go unheralded. Perhaps we treat their paycheck as their reward or rationalize that they don’t need to hear they are loved and appreciated as often as females do; but statistics and common sense tell us we need to better recognize and encourage the powerful effect fathers have.

Calvin often tells the story of Lance Sijan.  Lance Sijan’s final words made an impact on me.

Lance Sijan, an Air Force Captain, was a POW in Viet Nam and was shot down on November 9, 1967. For over 36 hours he lay semiconscious, seriously injured with a compound fracture to his left leg, a concussion and a fractured skull. Lance made radio contact with a rescue unit, but they were unable to retrieve him from the dense jungle and abandoned the search two days later.

For six weeks, Lance crawled through the jungle at night to evade his enemies and once he crawled into a sinkhole which only added to his injuries. Finally, on Christmas Day he passed out on a dirt road and was captured by the North Vietnamese a few hours later. Though he was starved and in pain, a short time after his capture he was able to overpower an armed guard and escape. He was recaptured several hours later and tortured, but would not leak pertinent information as to his country or mission.

By the time Lance was put in the Hanoi prison camp he weighed less than 100 pounds, though he was over 6 feet tall. He was placed in a cell with two other American soldiers and they later reported that though he often drifted in and out of consciousness he would push on the walls of his cell and scratch on the floor trying to find a way to escape. They said that even though he was consumed in pain, he would quiz them about the camp’s security and try to think of plans to break out.

Lance was interrogated several times by the enemies and “savagely beaten” for his silence and refusal to betray his fellow comrades or country. Once, after having endured hours of torture, he weakly said, “Don’t you understand? I’m not going to tell you anything. I can’t talk to you. It’s against the Code.”

His two buddies, cellmates, tried to make him comfortable after the torture sessions. In his final few hours, they cradled his head in their laps and talked quietly to him of courage and bravery and encouraged him to hang on. At last, the guards came for him and Lance knew it was to die. When they placed him on the stretcher, he said to his buddies, “It’s over . . . it’s over."  As the guards carried him away, his buddies said he called out to his father for help.3

When Calvin tells the story, his voice often breaks when he gets to the part where Lance calls to his dad to help him. He said it reminds him of Jesus calling out to his Father as he was tortured and hung on the cross.

There is nothing like a father when you need rescued. There is nothing like a father to protect you from the bullies and beatings. There is nothing like a father to help you be strong. Like Lance, our society is calling out for fathers.

I am eternally indebted to men who have filled a good father’s role for me.  Likewise I am grateful to Calvin for being an incredible father to our children.  Now it is exciting watching our sons, Trevor, Trent, Ray, Abe, Ty, and Joe fill that divine role for the next generation.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers. Your success is vital to our success. And, Happy Father’s Day to all of the future fathers - we need you.

1. “The Father and the Home,” Improvement Era, June 1958, 410; quoting from Samuel S. Leibowitz, “Nine Words That Can Stop Juvenile Delinquency,” Reader’s Digest, Mar. 1958, 106.
2. Raspberry, William. “Crime Rates Rise from Fatherless Communities,” Deseret Morning News, Oct. 10, 2005, sec. A, p. 11.
3. Collier, Peter. Medal of Honor. Singapore: Artisan, 2006. pg xiv-xvi.


Grandma & Grandpa said...

Well said, as always, Jane, and so terribly and frighteningly true. Steve had a small piece about fatherless America on Facebook. I'm going to try to send it on to you. Loye

Michelle said...

Loved this. Thanks!

Ande said...

This was a great blog on Fathers. I feel like I have the very best dad in the world. He is truly incredible. I wish I could adequately convey how great he is.