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June 19, 2017

Father’s Day and the Picture You Paint

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

One Father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” An Old English Proverb

When she was a little girl, Nathan noticed that his elder daughter, Hannah, often looked at herself in the mirror. All little girls do. Later, when his younger daughter, Ellie Kate, came along and grew a bit, she would climb up on a stool to also look in the mirror. I suppose there might be a number of us that do that as well.

As Hannah gazed into the glass, the reflection of her smile affirmed for her what she had heard from those who love her—wonderful. But I wonder how easy it was for her to see past all the strips of paper that had been stuck to the mirror.

For you see, Hannah’s Daddy (Nathan, our son) had taken the time to tape crisply typed messages to his daughter, both direct and subliminal, sticking them onto the mirror which he knew she visited regularly to brush her hair and teeth, and other things.

Each word, on each strip of paper, he had pasted on the mirror for her, carried a message of affirmation, hope, inspiration and aspiration for her—

Kind”…“Outgoing”…“Bright”…“Amazing”…“Lovely”…“Friendly”…

Athletic”…“Test-taker”…“Honest”…“Artistic”…“Musical”…“Generous”…

Clever”…“Relaxed”…“Hilarious”…“Articulate”…

And so, every time Hannah looked in the mirror, reading each piece of paper was similar to her being waked up in the morning by someone with a big smile on their face, and telling her how precious she was, and how much they loved her, and what a great day God has planned for her. Every time, every day.

I suspect those words served to influence in large measure the image which our precious Granddaughter, Hannah, saw in that little girl in the mirror. I suspect also that she heard and still hears those words circling around in her thoughts as she scurries about the halls and rooms of her home, or faces a difficult challenge in life and school. I suspect she feels a sense of positive encouragement from them in the touch, tone, manner and attention given her by those around her who love her.

She’s lucky and deserves every bit of that encouragement. Some of us didn’t have a father like Hannah and Ellie, a father who appealed to their best hopes, not their worst fears and doubts. But we can be the father we should be, by drawing a line in our journey, and doing better for our children, grandchildren and those children everywhere we meet.

She’s lucky to have a father like she does with whom she had and still has, “date-nights” at Pizza Hut or Steak & Shake. She’s lucky to have a father who recognizes that one of her strongest needs is to feel her father’s protection, love and encouragement every moment of every day. She needs to feel his—and her Mom’s as well—positive presence and outlook on her future, uplifting voice, and gentle loving correction in her life, every day.

Yet too often, too many children don’t receive that affirmation.

Forty-percent of our children go to bed without a father in the home, or without one who cares, or is regularly there. Seventy-percent of children who get into trouble have had no father in the home, or at least one who cares.

Almost every pre-sentence investigation report a judge sees before imposing sentence paints a picture of a home with an absent—in fact or emotionally—or abusive father. That’s not offered as an excuse for the behavior that got them to that place, but it is a sad commentary and condemnation of a society which sells tens of millions of copies of video games advocating the beating, destruction and killing of policemen, others, and anyone else who gets in our way.

And here’s the rub—the boys in those homes become fathers and the girls become mothers, and absent some intervention they are destined to continue the cycle. Yet all along the way, all they really wanted and needed was to believe that there was something to hope for in life, something they could believe in on any given day, and that there was someone they could trust, who believed in them, and was always pointing out the best in them and painting a picture of all they can be—

Kind”…“Outgoing”…“Bright”…“Amazing”…“Lovely”…“Friendly”…

Athletic”…“Test-taker”…“Honest”…“Artistic”…“Musical”…“Generous”…

Clever”…“Relaxed”…“Hilarious”…“Articulate”…

What picture do you paint of those entrusted to you, of who they can be, and how wonderful they are? How uplifting and positive are your daily words and facial expressions which are—one way or another—molding their lives?

Why not paint the picture for them which God would paint—knowing He has entrusted you with their lives.

Good for you Nathan, you have, and continue to do well, Daddy.

Happy Father’s Day—you deserve that!

And Happy Father’s Day to all of you!

And good for all of you—Dads, Moms, Grandparents, and beyond—who realize the influence you have on the image, hearts, hopes and aspirations of those impressionable and precious reservoirs of potential in our midst, which God has entrusted into your care.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

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