Growing up as a typical boy I must confess I had my share of heroes. Of course many of them emerged from the world of sports like Baltimore Oriole Brook Robinson with his golden glove, and Jerry West of the LA Lakers with his sweet jump shoot, and Dallas Cowboy fullback Walt Garrison with his grit and determination.
Like most boys of my era I was drawn to the heroes of the black and white television in the living room or on the silver screen like the Lone Ranger, the Rifle-man, Daniel Boone, and my favorite, Sheriff Andy Taylor, who could keep Mayberry safe and secure with wit and wisdom and no need for a firearm on his hip. Needless to say these were actually imaginary heroes. I could look up to them, and immulate them but it was not likely I was ever going to become a foot-ball star or crime fighter.
No, my real hero, the one I knew better than any other was my dad. Like almost every child I know, my dad started out as my hero and remains my hero to this day. The truth is dads have the corner on the market for being heroes in the eyes of their children. It is a place God gives us at birth without earning it. In fact, it is ours to keep until we prove time and time again we cannot carry the burden of being looked up to by our children.
I fear we underestimate the significance and importance of fathers in the lives of children both young and old. When there is a dad in the house, children are less likely to drop out of school, get in trouble, end up in poverty or worse, in prison. Little girls wait for the right man and don’t give themselves to the wrong boys who would use them and toss them aside and little boys grow up to be responsible, hard-working and trustworthy.
Put a dad in a house, and God has a good chance at living in the hearts of his children and mom does not have to take on the role of Wonder Woman. Yes, a dad in the house can make all the difference in the world.
In my case, my dad had all the qualities of being a hero but not because he was the best preacher I ever heard, nor because he was respected and admired in circles far and wide. No, my dad was my hero because of how he loved me and my brothers. His in-vestment in my life followed by his consistency at church and at home.
One of my fondest memories was as an older teenager hiking up Lowrie mountain deep in the back woods of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee and looking at the rumble of my dad’s childhood home, that was none other than a log cabin with no electricity or running water. Yes, my dad actually was born in a log cabin on the side of a mountain. Needless to say, we had very little opportunity to complain about the trials and tribulations of suburban life !
The writer of Proverbs got it right when he observed :
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. (Proverbs 17 :6 ESV)
Father’s Day waits just over the horizon, so to the dads out there—THANK YOU—you really are heroes in your own way. I cannot imagine where we would be today without your strong steady influence for good. Keep up the good work. We need you.