I heard a young person just recently declare that Independence Day was "Fireworks Day!" I think this young person was speaking for children across the country as they explained what made the holiday so special to them. Fireworks are cool. Fathers, not so much.
I want to speak to Dads for a moment about this. Dads, do you find that the national conversation (in the media) about Father's Day seems to minimize the holiday? Why is that? Is it because Dads who love their families don't also love the limelight of a day of celebration? I know I feel that way sometimes. It feels strange to be honored. But do you find that in minimizing the holiday, the media is not doing that because of our shyness to be honored - after all, they also mock men and manliness. We're belittled, berated, despised and dishonored. We're the brunt of jokes, and the subject of scorn in the movies, TV, and modern literature. Celebrating upright, honorable, courageous men just seems to be something the secular media cannot bring themselves to do amid the onset of the feminist movement and rapidly changing morality in our country. Emasculating our children in schools, we find even curriculum supervisors trying to force the education system to tell our boys to play with dolls and get in touch with their feelings (or feminine side). What has this brought to our country and our families?
It has brought us to faithless men who have no interest or much courage to lead their families in spiritual matters. It has brought to us families with men who are not faithful, loyal, or courageous. It has brought to us broken homes and fatherless boys left with no one to teach them what a "man" really is. And it opens the door to all sorts of debauchery, social ills, and the idea that a man is really a stupid animal going from woman to woman as a breeding stud who may feel free to rape, assault, or otherwise molest whomever he can.
Most of the men I know are not that way. If you're reading this, you probably see it happening around you and you feel powerless to make a difference. But you can. You can start by leading your family to church every Sunday. When your boys see you in church, they will follow. When your wife sees you serving Christ, she will follow and respect. As a pastor, I hear from women all the time saying how much they wish their husbands would become the spiritual leaders of the home. When men lead their families in prayer, spiritual matters, and church attendance, they are leading their families in their most deep-seated needs of all. When you lead your family, you make a difference today and on into future generations! And you set an example for your friends to follow as well - and so you influence your community! Do you have the guts to do this?
But there's more than simple spiritual leadership that Fathers can do to make a difference. Necessarily, following the Lord means accepting His morality. While that's not all, it's too often neglected in homes. Men must have not only spiritual courage to lead, but moral courage. Teaching kids right and wrong is a man's job - especially when it comes to the boys. You want a son, and now that you have one, will you teach him to be a man with respect to the women? Will you teach him how to treat a woman? Will you teach him to honor women? Never hit a woman? Do not force yourself on a woman, molest your daughters or cheat on your wife? Do you teach him to open doors, let them go first, and marry them before sleeping with them? Hollywood will teach your boys their morality if you don't teach them YOURS.
So, men, which holiday is most needed - Fireworks or Father's Day? I say that our independence as a nation is meaningless if we allow our country to be corrupted from within. Fathers are what's needed - and so they should be honored! Father's Day, this year, should be first on our priority list. Will it be yours?
If so, will you make it a point to start THIS SUNDAY taking your family to church? Will you allow them to honor on June 19th (Father's Day) at church and at home? Will you encourage that by answering their questions about what you want with something reasonable other than a "light up tie" or "silly shirt"? Will you thank them for honoring you, and take their honor as an encouragement to be the spiritual and moral leader in the home, as well as their provider and protector?
I hope to see you Sunday, Fathers and your families!