Tag archives: Fathers Day

The Heart of a Father

by Daniel Hart

June 14, 2019

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

When my firstborn son was a few months old, it was clear that he was not gaining weight like he should be from breastfeeding due to an undiagnosed condition. My wife and I felt helpless and were wracked with constant worry. As a father, I felt desperate, and longed to do anything in my power to help my suffering child. By God’s grace, we were eventually able to find the professional help we needed through lactation consultation, and our baby began a healthy weight gain.

I am reminded of this time when reading of desperate fathers in the Gospels who, at their wits end, lay their suffering children at Christ’s feet, begging Him to help them. Although my own experience pales in comparison to the severity of the problems these biblical fathers faced, I can still identify with a father like Jairus frantically elbowing his way through the crowd and throwing himself before Jesus, beseeching Him to help his dying daughter (Mark 5:23-43). Or the father with the demon-possessed son, who kneels before Jesus and implores Him, “Lord, have mercy on my son…” (Matthew 17:15-18).

I can picture the sweat on the brows of these fathers as they strenuously assert themselves for the sake of their children. With all their options exhausted, they make one last ditch attempt—some would have said foolhardy attempt—to save their offspring at the feet of Jesus. How does He respond?

Jesus, in full union with His Father, reveals the true nature of God the Father’s heart in His response: mercy, compassion, and healing. We read that at the moment He speaks the word of healing, the afflicted are indeed healed: “…the boy was cured instantly” (Matthew 17:18); “And immediately the girl got up and walked” (Mark 5:42). What’s more, physical healing is just the beginning of God’s tender care for the welfare of His children.

Caring for Our Children’s Spiritual Welfare

Christ does not stop at mere physical healing; His mercy extends to great concern for our spiritual health as well. When the father of the possessed child pleads with Jesus to heal his son, Christ’s first response is to teach him the power of belief: “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). And for those who ask for the Spirit, Christ assures us that God cannot help but give more than merely “good” gifts: “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

In the same way, fathers who have a full understanding of love are just as concerned about their children’s spiritual welfare as for their physical health. As I try to teach my 2 ½-year-old son his prayers and speak to him about the love of God, I often find myself wondering about what kind of faith he will have by the time he leaves the house. Becoming a father has given me an expanded appreciation for all those fathers out there who worry about their sons and daughters losing their faith after they have struck out on their own or are in college. While I know it’s second nature for a parent to worry about their children, I also know that all God needs is an open soul, not a wise or mature one—He will fill that openness with His grace.

Indeed, a father’s longing for his children’s physical and spiritual health is an image of the purest longing that God has for us.

We Need a Renewed Emphasis on Fatherly Compassion

Having a father who passed the love of God on to me, and knowing that I will strive to do all I can to pass this faith on to my own children, my heart aches for those who have not had a father in their lives who has shown love to them. I have personally known those who have been deprived of the love of their fathers and have seen the spiritual wounds that this profound absence can cause.

Tragically, there are many in our society who have difficulty relating to God as the merciful and healing Father that He is because of the lack of a loving earthly father in their own lives, whether from outright absence or from emotional/physical neglect or abuse that they experienced from their fathers.

This lamentable state of affairs gives Christian fathers all the more motivation to exemplify and live out the true heart of our heavenly Father. Much has been said and written about how fathers must be strong leaders and firm maintainers of discipline in their families. This is certainly true, but it only tells half the story of the true heart of God the Father, and therefore the heart that all fathers must strive for.

The tender care that Christ manifested through His merciful and healing touch and through beautiful parables like the prodigal son (Luke 15) are stirring examples of what a truly loving father must be: a clear reflection of God the Father’s tenderness, mercy, and compassion—guiding and nurturing his children towards discipleship in God’s kingdom. This requires what may seem on the surface to be a paradox: Fathers must have the manly courage to be vulnerably compassionate with their children in order to more fully exemplify the compassionate love of our heavenly Father.

A Full Heart

One of the first instincts of a father is to provide for the physical needs of his children. This is natural and good—it clearly fits our nature as men. Vulnerability and tender care for the spiritual needs of our children may not come as naturally to us, but it is just as important. In order to impart the full heart of God to our children, we must be willing to stretch ourselves and exemplify both physical and spiritual nourishment to our children, just as our Heavenly Father gives abundantly to all who ask Him (Luke 11:11-13).

This Father’s Day, may we all find true rest and comfort in the healing and merciful embrace of our true Father in heaven, who unreservedly pours out His fatherly mercy, healing power, and grace to all His children each day.

Thank You Dad

by Joshua Denton

June 22, 2015

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. For some it will be just another day. For those who never really had the privilege of experiencing an earthly father’s love or whose fathers are no longer with them, it will be a day of mixed feelings of joy and sorrow. For me, it is a day I can reflect on my dad’s ongoing influence in my life.

To show my gratitude to my dad, , for being the great man in Christ Jesus that he is, I’d like to dedicate the following letter to him in honor of Father’s Day:

6/19/2015

Dear Dad,

This Father’s Day I want to thank you for being my Dad. It would be really easy to just buy you a nice Father’s Day card, but I want to really take the time to write a heartfelt thank you.

I know raising me hasn’t always been easy. I have always had a stubborn streak and I remember when I was younger how much trouble I used to get into. I was rebellious and disrespectful and a bad example to my siblings. But you persevered with me and never gave up on me. It might have been easier to let me have my own way, but you took the time to do the right thing. I still remember different times you would sit me down and take me through passages of Scripture and explain why the way I was acting was wrong and how I needed to give my heart to Jesus.

Before I got saved I was selfish and disobedient. I would always get angry, I could never control my temper. Instead I let it control me and tried to use it to control others. I know now that anger is just a manipulation tactic because I used to be that kind of person. But anger never has worked on you, Dad, and you taught me to do better.

I fought your instruction and guidance especially up until I was around 13 years old. I know I caused you and mom a lot of pain, tears, and prayers. Finally, I got tired from running from what I knew all along was the right thing. On November 8, 2008, with you and mom kneeling beside me in front of our couch in the living room I prayed for Jesus Christ to come into my heart and be my Savior and the Lord of my life. And this time, I really meant it.

From that time, I become a changed person. Close family members saw and still see the difference that Jesus made in my life. But if it wasn’t for you, Dad, I wonder where I would be now?

Life raising me still hasn’t been easy for you and mom and I know you’ve said that the teen years are so much more difficult than when I was just a kid. Thank you for being firm with me when necessary, for putting your foot down when you had to. Even when I’m sure it was hard, you still cared enough about me to not let me do certain things. Thanks for loving me Dad. Thanks for protecting me from all the evil that is out there.

Thank you for providing for me, my siblings and mom. Even when times were really tough and it was hard to pay the bills sometimes, we never went hungry. You always worked hard to provide for us. You taught me to work hard with my hands. I have always had to work hard for college and a car – and I’m glad. Some dads can give these things to their kids. That’s great if they can, and I know you would if you were able. But I am glad I have had to work to make a living and earn things. There are more important things that you gave me. Character lessons. Because of you I know how to manage money, plant a garden, how to do a lot of different types of construction, how to treat a lady, how to be strong, how to be a man.

Thank you Dad.

You’ve been a great role model for me. Other role models I have looked up to in the past have failed me, but you’ve always been there for me. I know you aren’t a perfect Dad, and I am certainly not a perfect son, but I sure respect you a lot.

Most of all Dad, I want to thank you for instilling in me a love for God’s Word, and for teaching me how to follow him – no matter what others thought of me for it. I remember you have always said “the most important thing in this world is to get to heaven and help other people get there.” Thank you for teaching me to have an eternal perspective of what really matters in life. Thank you for taking God’s commands to a father seriously by sitting us kids down and spending time in God’s Word with us; explaining passages, answering our questions, and encouraging us to study the Bible for ourselves.

Now that I’m in a different stage of life and living on my own, I’ve acquired a new appreciation for how you raised me. I see more fully now that you set rules and boundaries for a reason, not just to make life harder or to be mean. I’m a young man now Dad, and someday I’ll be a husband and dad myself. I know when those days come I’ll come to realize even more how wise you are. I won’t forget the lessons you have taught me.

I thank God for giving me a dad like you, and I hope someday I can be the kind of man that you are. I love and appreciate you.

Your Son,

Josh

The sad state of fatherhood in America makes me all the more thankful for my earthly father that my heavenly Father has blessed me with. 54% of children ages 15-17 come from broken families – families whose parents are no longer or never were married. Clearly, the presence of a good father in the home

Our Father

by Family Research Council

June 13, 2014

When I was young, my father used to take each of his children out to spend a day with him. Whether it was playing putt-putt golf, getting lunch, or spending a day with him at work, our “day with dad” was always an anticipated treat. Then, those days were times devoted to bonding and having fun with dad. Now, those days have built memories and lasting foundations of love that I would not trade for the world. I was learning to walk in Dad’s footsteps.

When we celebrate our fathers on Father’s Day, we honor men who have ultimately given their lives to the vocation of fatherhood. We are not recognizing men who are handy with tools, or who like cars, sports, and beer, as Hallmark cards so often try to sell us on. We commemorate men who have chosen fatherhood as a primary role in life and who regard all other occupations as inferior. Rather than submitting to the materialist mindset so prevalent, the recognition of the significance of fatherhood grows more potent every day. This is why it is vital to celebrate fathers in a society that degrades strong male figures and attacks traditional fatherhood.

Scripture tells us that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and to lay down his life for her if necessary. Earthly fathers are figures of our Heavenly Father, and they direct us upward to him. Father’s Day reminds us that, though it is a day to celebrate our earthly fathers, everyday should be one spent with our Heavenly Father, from Whom all blessings flow.

In a letter written to his son on the topics of love, manhood, and marriage, Ronald Reagan said, “There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps.”

I’m always listening for your footsteps, dad.

As the years pass and simple days of childhood fade into tempestuous reality, one thing remains: the Trinitarian love reflected in the family, flowing from the father. I have learned from my father what true manhood and fatherhood are: the willingness to pour out one’s love and life in sacrifice.

So to the man who taught me about the importance of tradition, family stories and family prayer, whose generosity to the family and to strangers astonishes me still, and who revealed to me, most especially, that doing small things with great love is the road to holiness… Thank you. Thank you for the memories of simpler days when the path of truth was illuminated over lunch and putt-putt, for being a caring father, and for being a father whose footsteps I still wish to walk in.

Hamilton McCallum: Joyful. Committed. Gift-giver.

by Cindy Mouw

June 12, 2014

My father loved life with exuberance and wanted to help everybody else love it as much as he did. He sought out bargains on ponies, snowmobiles, and motorcycles so his five daughters could experience new adventures in the world that so enamored him. Knowing that a family requires the nourishment of joy and fun, he set work aside for two weeks each summer to bring his family to a cottage on Bass Lake.  He recognized that God loved the world and was pleased with those who sought to experience all its joys and delights. But a depth of wisdom matched this exuberance. He was a listener and a pragmatic advisor for everyone he knew. Down to earth and in love with his family and his world, he knew how to offer good gifts and love.

 

As a man of faith, my dad wasn’t vocal, but he lived out a commitment to Christ for years without wavering. He readily admitted that he didn’t understand the depth of biblical stuff; instead, he lived what he believed.  When I think of the fruits of the spirit I think of him.  I think of a man who practiced love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. As kids we could count on him being home from work every day at 4, and we knew that he’d take us to church every Sunday. He provided all of his daughters with a Christian education, knowing that he was investing in long-term formation. He made these daily choices without complaint or comment; they were a given. I am thankful for this every day.

 

He knew how to do the important stuff — praying at dinner, coming home on time, taking his family to enjoy the lake — over and over again. Father’s like him know that what matters in life should be practiced, recited, lived out each day. He was a Christian tradition in an Irishman’s body, someone I could always count on to joyfully live the commitments he made. 

Rob Schwarzwalder: Love. Wisdom. Fun.

by Family Research Council

June 12, 2014

Rob Schwarzwalder is the kind of guy you hope to work for when you sign on at an organization like Family Research Council. He’s a man of deep faith and conviction. He’s stubbornly gracious with his interlocutors, often affording to them unrequited courtesy. To his friends, Rob is encouragement personified. Think of the character Faithful in Pilgrim’s Progress, and you’re about there.

I’ve had the pleasure of working for and with Rob at FRC for a number of years now, and he’s someone I’ve come to admire and value as a friend and mentor. Rob has embraced the character of his heavenly father, who has adopted us all into his family (Eph 1:5), by becoming an adoptive father himself.

Rob was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the adoption process, and to share what he’s learned about fatherhood along the way.

 

CM: Rob, for some men, fatherhood catches them off-guard. Not unwelcome, but perhaps unexpected. You had the experience of becoming an adoptive father, which entails a significant process, and a kind of fierce intentionality. Describe your reaction when you got the news you were going to be a father?

RS: We had had a couple of fall-throughs in which the birthmothers who had committed her child to us changed her mind, so I was somewhat guarded.  Actually holding them at the adoption agency and then driving home with them in car seats behind my wife and me was surreal (but joyous!).  My wife had prayed for twins for about 16 years, so of course our hearts were full of praise.

CM: How can family and friends best encourage those couples struggling with infertility and perhaps going through the adoption process?

RS: Don’t give trite, dismissive advise (“Well, you’d probably get pregnant if you’d only relax”) and listen a lot.  Encourage the couple with the fact that Jesus was adopted (his Davidic lineage came through His adoptive father Joseph) and that all Christians are the adopted children of our Father.  So, adopting places you in good company. -J

CM: Do you have a favorite Father’s Day memory?

RS: Going to an Outback Steakhouse and watching my then-two year-olds come close to obliterating our table with grease, sauce, napkins, etc.

CM: How has fatherhood changed you?

RS: It has filled a vast empty place in my soul.  It’s forced me to recognize the depth of my selfishness and also that I have reserves of physical and emotional fortitude that surprised me; and it has made me more fervent in prayer than I otherwise might have been.

CM: What fatherhood/parenting myth would you most like to see suffer an ignominious death?

RS: Two, actually: That you are doomed to repeating your father’s mistakes and that you must always be the source of complete wisdom and even-temperedness – saying, “I don’t know” and apologizing after getting angry count for a lot. That’s not to excuse anger, but to remind that anger is almost unavoidable – the key is to strive against it and, when you fail, take responsibility for it.

CM: What do you and your children enjoy doing together? Favorite pastimes or hobbies?

RS: All kinds of things – hiking, watching movies, church activities, throwing the baseball, wrestling, etc.

CM: If you could give new dads a piece of advice or a bit of wisdom that’s been helpful to you, what would you say?

RS: (1) The best gifts you can give your wife and children are your love for Jesus Christ and your time; (2) everyone who has ever had a child thinks he’s an expert, so take un-asked for advice with a grain of salt; (3) read Christian parenting books with discernment – there is no mechanical template for raising children, only principles that must be applied with wisdom and grace per the needs of the child; and (4) boys need to wrestle and rough-house – accept no substitutes.

Ken Frieling: Faithful. Steady. A great smile.

by Keri Boeve

June 12, 2014

What greater joy is there than to share about one’s dad in honor of Father’s Day? I can think of none greater, particularly since I know many are not blessed with a father in their life or one they would care to honor.

I would describe my dad in this way: faithful, steady, and has a great smile. This description may not carry much pizazz for an occasion of honor, but to me it typifies who my dad is and why he is so special to me.

Let’s start with the obvious – his smile. My dad’s smile is the best. It radiates joy, brightens his whole face, and makes his eyes twinkle. What makes it even more special is the fact that his dad, my grandpa, smiled the same way, as do my uncles, Dad’s brothers. It is a trademark “Frieling man” smile. Perhaps that is why it is so endearing to me. When I see my dad smile, I can subconsciously say, “Yep, that’s my dad.”


My dad was the anchor in my family as I grew up. His quiet, even-tempered personality combined with his love for his family made him a steadying influence in our family of seven. Aside from the unfortunate tango with a wasp’s nest, Dad could usually keep his cool and display a level head, even when tempers flared and siblings fought. He was always there when you needed him. As a child, I know his steady presence in my life gave me security, comfort, and confidence. As a teen, his presence (and questioning) kept me on the straight and narrow. To this day I know my dad will be there when I call, ready to help.

Finally, and most importantly, my father’s faithful walk with the Lord has provided a powerful example to me of a “life well lived”. I cannot recall any deep, theological conversations with my dad, but I do vividly remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning for school (or so it seemed in high school) and finding my dad sitting in his recliner quietly praying and studying the Bible. He has a servant’s heart and an unshakeable faith that can only be found in a close walk with God. Our family has experienced many joys and sorrows over the years, and my dad has faithfully trusted in the Lord and prayed through each and every one. Nothing warms my heart more than to have our now grown family gathered, all 27 of us including spouses and grandchildren, and have my dad lead us in prayer. What a legacy he is creating, and what a blessing I have been given to have this faithful, steady, and yes, even smiling, man to call father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, you are the best father this girl could ever ask for.

Leslie Morrison: World traveler. Life saver. Hero.

by Robert Morrison

June 12, 2014

I can still remember when Pop woke me up before dawn. Big news in the world: Stalin had died. I was just seven years old, but my dad interpreted the world for me. He had spent 17 years in the Merchant Marine; he sailed to every continent, visiting 47 countries in all. Whenever there was a story about a rare rhino in Africa or an unusual Boa in Brazil, or a shakeup in Russia, Pop could explain it all. He had been there.

Like most World War II vets, he never bragged about what he had done in the war. Only much later did I learn that he had made several dangerous crossings of the U-boat infested North Atlantic. There, if your ship went down, the other ships in the convoy had strict orders not to stop. Pop told us about the time his ship was sunk by a U-boat sixty miles due east of Durban, South Africa. With the ship sinking, Pop ran back to get his camera and took the only pictures of the lifeboats. Only a decade after he was gone did I learn from a surviving shipmate that Pop had run around the deck of the stricken freighter unlatching the pelican hooks that griped down the rubber boats. Had he not done that, his shipmate told me, most of the crew would have died. They could not have survived 18 hours in those frigid waters. Instead of talking about his role as a lifesaver, Pop always told us how nice it was to be put up in a five-star hotel for six weeks and to be able to play tennis daily with the South African women’s champion!

From the day Pop returned from the sea in 1952 until the day he died in 1998, we knew where he was every night of his life. He was the one we turned to when neighborhood bullies threatened. He taught me to defend myself and only call on him if my tormentor brought a gang or a knife to the fight. But if I had to call on Pop, the whole neighborhood knew to watch out.

My father taught me what it meant to be a man. Today, 48% of first-borns in America are born out-of-wedlock. Who will teach those dear children what it means to be a man?

Doug Prol: Coach, Patriot, Provider

by Family Research Council

June 12, 2014

Dear Dad,

#Coach

Run faster! She’s right behind you!” I can still hear your hoarse voice piercing my consciousness as I round the final lap of my 3200 meter race. Tears and sweat blurred my vision. My legs screamed almost as loudly as you. But there you were—believing that I could beat the girl just over my shoulder. You’d offer a hug and a Gatorade regardless of what medal I received, or if I medaled at all. But you believed I was capable. You drove me to excellence. Your fierce and stable support has carried me through much longer, more arduous races. When I was a kid, you pointed me towards writing and art contests and poured over college literature with me. More recently, you’ve nudged and prayed me towards the next good thing. I never would have worked on Capitol Hill, made that spontaneous trip to England, or launched into my counseling degree if you hadn’t been my coach and advocate.

#Patriot

You started wearing tri-corned hats well before they were “cool”—or at least well before the tea party brought them into the public eye as an icon for conservative principles. I seem to recall a particularly awesome photo of you balancing a long wooden pike as you volunteered for the Jamestown militia. I was both mortified and awed by your reenactment, as only an insecure grade-schooler can be. But your love of American history and respect for public service has steered me towards many brown National Park Service historical markers and many difficult policy debates. You taught me how to vote, to write letters to my Congressman, and especially to how pray for wise and godly leaders. Your love and concern for this great country still inspires my work today.

#Provider

You and mom always put bread on the table—and not just any bread but the homemade, sprouted, make-you-a-healthier-person kind of bread. I loved my childhood—having a full house, cheap vacations, and living in a busy metropolitan area. But, looking back with adult intelligence, I am humbled by the long moments when you lost sleep, worked that extra job at ShopRite, and made other unannounced but painful sacrifices to keep our family afloat. I admire your discretion about workplace, family, financial or church stresses—the way you protected me but helped me grow into a wiser, more adept adult decision maker. Your humility and gentleness is precious to me.

So… happy Father’s Day to a very special coach, patriot, and provider! You are very dear to me.

Always,

Your little girl

Fathers Day: Endangered Species?

by Robert Morrison

June 17, 2012

The video of our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson attempting to say his name cracked us all up. The tyke sailed through his first and middle names, but he stumbled over his formidable Dutch surname. He couldnt pronounce it.

I cannot say his name either, not here. There is a lion in the streets, seeking whom he may devour. Theres a trial in Pennsylvania for an accused lion now. Predators also stalk the Web.

As my grandson struggled, I felt a pang. For millions of American children, saying their fathers name will not be possible. Millions of children are growing up fatherless. For them, Fathers Day rings hollow. Its more a hope, an aspiration, than a daily reality. Today, the out-of-wedlock birth rate is greater than four in ten.

Seeing my grandson made me so grateful that he has a mother and dad who love and protect him. I also had married parents. And I needed my fathers protection.

I recall the scene from half a century ago. As ten year olds, my friend Shane and I played forts in the large, empty fields near our Long Island home. One day, we were shocked to find the owner of the property advancing on us menacingly. He held a shotgun. He pointed the weapon at us and said if he ever caught us on his land again, he would shoot us.

Terrified, Shane and I ran home. When my father came home from work as a carpenter, he sent Shane home and took me back to the place where the incident had occurred. Then, gripping my hand with an iron clasp, he marched me up to the owners large mansion. Later I learned that the man with the shotgun was the 16th Lord of the Manor, a landowner whose property descended from a royal grant of King Charles II.

My father banged on the door and called out to the 16th Lord. Is this the man who pointed the gun at you, he asked me when the owner appeared. Y-y-yes, I said, more frightened than I had ever been. Confronting the 16th Lord, my father said: Ill keep my son and his friends off your property, Mister. But if I ever hear of you pointing a gun at little boys again, Ill come back and break it over your head!

I thought my father was the bravest man in the world. I still do. He knew, though, when not to intervene. When a neighbor boy, Gary, taunted me beyond endurance, I resolved to have it out with him. My mother was really upset. Dont let him go back to the fight, she pleaded with my father, hes all bloody. I fought it out with Gary for what seemed hours. My father told my mother to let me handle it.

The great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, famously wrote that when he fought back against his tormentor, the infamous Negro breaker Covey, it was his resurrection as a man. Frederick didnt have a father as I did, one to protect and guide him. Fatherlessness is not a new phenomenon in America. It has always been a tragedy. Only now, its a deliberate policy.

President Obama might have been the model and the defender of fatherhood. In endorsing marriage of persons of the same sex, however, he is saying fathers are optional. President Obamas fictional character, Julia, relies on government from birth to retirement. There is no man in her life. No father, no husband, not even brothers. She is married to the state. Julia might have been created by liberal Gloria Steinem, who said: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Women do need men, just as men need women. And all of us need fathers.

New Yorks Last Father’s Day?

by Robert Morrison

June 17, 2011

So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. 1 Kings 2:10

I was not a believer and certainly not schooled in the Bible when I first encountered that poetic phrase. As a graduate history student, poring over the writings of President George Washington, I noted the Father of our Country wrote when he passed the age of sixty, the time is not far distant when I must sleep with my fathers.

It referred, the text explained, to Washingtons belief that he, like most of his male ancestors, would not live much longer. How can they say Washington is not eloquent, I asked myself. Thats a beautiful phrase, a memorable image.

Washingtons phrase reminded me of my own father. My dad was a carpenter and he left the house every morning before dawn. The good part of that is that he would often return in the late afternoon. I can remember as a little boy of nine or ten wrestling with Pop on the TV room floor when he came home. He was still sweaty and often had sawdust in his hair and on his clothes. Many a time, after such a hard days work, he and I would fall asleep following our wrestling match. Soon, my mother would come in and yell: Les! Go take your bath; its almost time for dinner! Sweaty as he was, that was a sweet smell. Honest sweat, pungent sawdust. He was proud of his work and there was a lot to be proud of.

One day, Pop came home to find me pale and shaken. I had just gotten back from the fields near our house. My friend Shane and I had been playing forts, running free through the woods and hills. But something bad had happened. Soon, Pop got the story out of me. A man with a shotgun had confronted Shane and me. This was his land, he said. We were illegal trespassers. If he ever caught us on his property again, he said, aiming the gun at us, he would shoot us. Pop sent Shane away but took me in tow. He wanted me to identify the man with the shotgun. I was terrified. That man had said he would shoot me. Would he now shoot Pop, too?

The owner of the vast undeveloped property was well-known in the community. The newspapers referred to him as the Sixteenth Lord of the Manor. In truth, his family had owned that land since King Charles II gave it to them in the 1660s.

Pop wasnt afraid. He held my hand tight and took me right up to the front door of the manor house. Is this the man, he asked? Yes, I answered, with a quavering voice. Pop confronted the Sixteenth Lord. Ill keep my son and his friends off your property, he said, but if I ever hear of you pointing a gun at a little boy, Ill break it over your head.

I thought my father the strongest, bravest man in the world. Still, I breathed easier once we crossed over the Sixteenth Lords property line. Only then did I notice the old, almost unreadable sign on the tree. It said: POSTED.

Much later, I learned that that meant the same thing as No Trespassing. And very much later, I learned what it meant to sleep with your fathers. I read this wonderful phrase in the Bible.

There is a lot of talk about bullying these days. We have a massive outlay in federal funds to address the issue of bullying. Growing up on Long Island, I had a sure defense against bullying my Pop. So did most of the boys I knew. Divorce was rare then and out-of-wedlock birth rarer still. Abortion was against the law.

We kids grew up feeling safe, protected in our tender years. One of George Washingtons great contemporaries, Edmund Burke, wrote of something called the cheap defense of nations. Fathers in the home were surely a part of that cheap defense. Without fathers in the home, there wont be enough money in the U.S. treasury or all the treasuries in the world to guard the young against bullying.

New York State, my home state, is on the verge of abolishing fathers in the home. They say they are only re-defining marriage. Theyre not. They are ending it. And with the end of marriage, will come the dissolution of the state. Gone will be the cheap defense of nations. And no one will know what it means to sleep with my fathers.

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