Happy Father’s Day!
by Judy Bushy
Sunday is Father’s Day. I don’t know if I’ve ever written anything especially for Father’s Day. The day I turned eight years old, my father was left out of my life, except for a handful of visits in the ensuing years, and he passed away 36 years ago. We did move in with my Hudson grandparents for a few years until my Mom bought our home, but my mother never remarried or even dated.and passed away just over a year before Dad did so it has been many years since I’ve had parents here to celebrate on those days.
That was definitely a different era. In my sixth grade class I was the only child of divorced parents, perhaps in the whole school, Other students didn’t know what divorce was in sixth grade. Today, I don’t think that children of that age are unfamiliar with divorce, even experiencing it first hand in many cases. One-third of American children are growing up without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the past 50 years, the percentage of children who live with two married parents has dropped 22 points. During that same time, the number of babies born to unwed mothers jumped from 5 percent to 40 percent.
While statistical studies by fathering advocates say that almost every social ill of American Children is related to fatherlessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional health, and even educational achievement, incarceration, promiscuity and crime are all blamed on the absence of Fathers. Those are only statistics and I’m grateful for my mother and other family members who gave us stability in the absence of a father.
The bigger problem for me was missing my father. I still had memories of the little black puppy he brought me, watching him practice archery, his making milkshakes for us, serving us orange soda when we stopped by the Log Cabin Café, and other family activities. Everyone always said that it was a good thing that my sisters and I were girls, as if a father isn’t important in a girl’s life as well as a son’s.
So this Father’s Day, I would like to thank Dan for being a wonderful father to our four children. For always putting our welfare before his own, and the decision of whether to move or not to move, to take a job or not, was always based on what was best for the family, because he felt that the Lord wanted him to have that priority. From the time that Michael was tiny, he rocked and sang hymns to him and practiced his Greek grammar during the seminary years. Back in those days (since our youngest child is 30 now) they didn’t have as many board books for the little guys, but he always spent time reading a story and Bible stories to the four children every single night for an hour or two, Little House books, and many classic children’s stories. Even when the older children were able to read their own chapter books, he spent that time and they enjoyed being read to as well. Sometimes he was so tired working two jobs that he would fall asleep before they did, but that hadn’t been an excuse to skip that special bedtime time with them at night. When we were in Wisconsin teaching, he took the children to school with him every day and brought them home each evening. Usually he was the principal but he did have the 5th & 6th grade classrooms when Esther was that age.
When he was off work in the summer, he found a job, even if it was peeling pulp logs for 10 cents a stick (which was the whole log of a tree.), being butcher in a grocery store or sorting mail at the post office in the Christmas rush. He was payed in hay for hating with our farm neighbor so didn’t have to buy hay for the goats and Dusty. the pony.
We started teaching Good News Clubs for children as soon as we got back from our honeymoon summer at the Hiawatha National Forest in Upper Michigan. Later were involved in Awana Clubs, Sunday School or Scouts most years. We’ve lived a child centered life which makes it hard when the children do what you always hoped they would; grow up to be responsible and respectful adults. They go away and there isn’t anyone to take care of anymore.
There is a great deal of talk today about marrying for “love,” but that is rather a new practice in human existence. Even in a great many places in the world today, marriages are arranged by parents or elders of a community, and are based not on some emotional or physical attraction, but on the raising of children and prospering of the family. We have no idea of Eve would have picked out Adam if he had competition, but they were instructed to love each other and be fruitful. They were partners in the building of their family and the growth of the children that were born into their family was the goal. Surprisingly people claim that Jesus Christ never said anything like Genesis 2:24, but have they read Matthew 5:31,. 19:3, Mark 10:7 or Ephesians 5:31? When he becomes a father, a man has many responsibilities to:
1. Provide for his family (Mt. 7:9-1; 1 Tim 5:8)
2. Instruct his children (Prov. 1:8)
3. Exhort, encourage and implore children (1 Thess 2:11)
4. Punish unruly children (Dt. 21:18-21)
5. Raise the children in the discipline and nurture of the Lord without provoking them or causing them to lose heart (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21)
6. Discipline his children (Heb 12:7)
7. Love his wife (Eph 5:25,28,33)
Thank you to all the Fathers that are actively involved in the lives of their children. Parenting can be the hardest job in the world, but it is also the biggest blessing. A family is rich when there is a Father in the home, and the best thing that he can do for his children, is to love their mother, and take care of the family.