It popped back off the screen at me as I responded to a woman’s comment of my web site. She was from my wife’s Sunday school class some 50 years ago and had agreed to critique my web site. She liked the site. It was inspirational, actually. But it saddened her. Her husband, now a grandfather, did not apply his many gifts to being a father. Often didn’t seem interested. In fact, she said, sadly, she would not have been able to get her husband to read such a book. “It’s a guy thing, I guess,” said she, remorsefull.
I’d like to share my response. Please consider the last line. I have too many such stories from close friends in ministry and missions. If you know of the Bob Pierce syndrome, that’s what we’re talking about. Save the world, lose the child…forever.
“My great fear is that your husband is like more of the husbands out there than not. No, it's not a guy thing. Hoping this won’t seem intrusive and rude, I am seeing this (I've been there) as disobedience to biblical standards. Lots of guys, otherwise called fathers some of the time, spend their days earning a living for their families, sometimes providing more than is necessary. On top of that, we men are prone to fulfill our drive toward significance, but too often at the cost of our families. Believe me, it happens as much, maybe more, in men saving the world in the name of Jesus.”
So, as legacy dads your intuition whispers assurance that you are not like that at all. Once again, and this comes from personal unpleasant exposure to friends in ministry: those with a drive to do God’s will at any price are too often the ones who include their children on the price tag.
It would take us hours and pages to invade the scriptures to support either side of this issue—follow “the call” or “train up the children in the way they should go.” Sure, you CAN do both. But on which side do you compromise when real life demands it?
My next best friend, college classmate and football team mate, founder of one of the great mission agencies of today, got nudged from top spot by my son-in-law—a great story we talk about in our co-authoring site and book. He “lost” two of his three sons to saving the Muslim world; they are proud, highly educated, angry pagans today. One or the other? No, but choices must be made—daily along the way to significance for the Kingdom and significance to the legacy.
Is it possible your “call,” Legacy Dad, is the only one God can’t find someone else to fulfill…being the father your sons and daughters joyfully emulate as they walk with God down life’s rugged road and even more joyfully repeat for their children, generation after generation?