Summary: Main point – God’s plan includes lessons from dad!

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Donald Smith has discovered a very important list that has far reaching implications for interpersonal communications between fathers and their families.

Much has been written over the years about the need for honest, clear, and consistent communication in family life. For lack of a better term, he calls it, “The Father’s Day Top Ten List of Things You’ve Been Itchin’ To Say For Years Now.” I have changed the title slightly to “Dad’s Top Ten List of Things You’ve Been Itchin’ For Years To Say.”

Here it is:

#10 Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

#9 Shopping is NOT a sport, and no, we are never going to think of it that way.

#8 Sunday = sports. It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

#7 “Yes” and “No” are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

#6 Check your oil! Please, check your oil!

#5 Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all past comments become null and void after 7 days.

#4 If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

#3 If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

#2 ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

Finally, the number one thing that we have been itchin’ to say:

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#1 Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we!

Focus On The Family’s Pastor’s Weekly Update reported at the end of this past week (early June 2003)that the newest issue of Family Circle Magazine’s newest national survey of fathers had some interesting results. Among the findings were:

* 94% feel building a family is the hardest and most important thing

a man can do.

* 71% say fatherhood is more demanding than they expected, while 88% say fatherhood is more rewarding

· 87% say the rewards of fatherhood trump those of career, and 89% approve of men leaving fast-track careers to spend more time with family.

* 90% say becoming a father made them want to be a better person and role model for their kids, while 75% feel a weight of responsibility now that they didn’t before.

Paul Harvey, in a column entitled “What Are Father’s Made Of?” has noticed the following about fathers:

“A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic. A father is a thing that growls when it feels good--and laughs very loud when it’s scared half to death.

A father never feels entirely worthy of the worship in a child’s eyes. He’s never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be--and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him.

A father is a thing that gets very angry when the first school grades aren’t as good as he thinks they should be. He scolds his son though he knows it’s the teacher’s fault. Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who’ll live the longest. Though they know the odds, they keep right on betting. And one day they lose.

I don’t know where fathers go when they die. But I’ve an idea that after a good rest, wherever it is, he won’t be happy unless there’s work to do. He won’t just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he’s loved and the children she bore. He’ll be busy there, too, repairing the stairs, oiling the gates, improving the streets, smoothing the way.”

The Bible has some important things to say about fathers and fathering. Things I, as a dad, need to be reminded of more than once a year.

Among them are Ephesians 6:4, “And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.” And also Colossians 3:21, “Father’s, don’t aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying.”

These passages remind me of the need for firmness and grace, guidance and permission giving, discipline and love, disagreement and respect toward my boys.

But there is another passage, this one in John’s gospel, which has much to teach us about fathers and fathering. It is found in chapter 17 of John’s gospel. It is Jesus’ prayer to God the Father prior to His arrest and subsequent crucifixion.

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