Summary: I believe that America’s number one social problem today is with husbands and fathers. If we ran our businesses like we lead our homes, the economy would collapse! There is a crisis of leadership in our homes.

The Head of the House

Men, brace yourselves! You’re my target today. I’m going to talk primarily to husbands and fathers in this message.

Wives, you can prepare your elbows. Go ahead, move a little closer to him so you can really dig in if I happen to make a point you think needs to be underlined. Yeah, nudge him right now, just for practice.

You teenagers, you should pay attention so you have ammunition, too. Next time your Dad acts in a way you don’t like you can say, “Pastor Jerry said....” Speaking from experience, I can tell you that guilt is a very powerful motivator in your Dad’s life. He’s already unsure about exactly how he’s supposed to relate to you, so if you can use my words to make him feel a little more guilty, you just might get your way!

TV provides a common reference point for Americans. Few things exert the same influence over our lives like the programming on TV. Dad, what TV dad can you identify with? There are many - ranging from terrible to wonderful, with quite a few in between.

An article from the Pittburgh Post Gazette, Father’s Day, 2005, listed some of those dads...

∙ You old-timers will remember - ANDY TAYLOR, Andy Griffith ("The Andy Griffith Show") A widowed Southern sheriff, Andy Taylor, living in a small town with his young son, Opie (Ronny Howard) If ever television offered American dads a reason to emulate a sitcom character, this was the show. Andy taught Opie by example, with life lessons about honesty, compassion, respect. And when he screwed up, as fathers do, he admitted his mistake.

∙ Another 50’s TV Dad was WARD CLEAVER, Hugh Beaumont ("Leave It To Beaver")

He’s strict without being a crank and sweet without being a doormat for his kids to wipe their feet on, like most modern TV dads. When Ward lets something slide, you know it’s just because the Beav and Wally have already learned a valuable life lesson.

∙ My family watched “The Cosby Show” and loved CLIFF HUXTABLE, Bill Cosby

I wished I had his corny but likeable sense of humor. Cliff was a committed husband, and a father who doted on and disciplined his numerous children.

∙ Unforgettable was Michael Landon, playing CHARLES INGALLS - ("Little House on the Prairie")

Pa Ingalls was a man of we all would have loved to be..... with a beautiful and sweet wife, possessing a big heart, he cried great big tears of frontier sorrow but managed to manly through it all. His patience with adversity was amazing... dealing with a daughter’s blindness, crop failures, and life’s ordinary stuff. His affection for his family came through loud and clear when he gave a hug to Half-Pint (Melissa Gilbert).

∙ One of my personal favorite TV dads is still on. THE REV. ERIC CAMDEN, Stephen Collins ("7th Heaven") He deserves sainthood just for putting up with his wife, Annie (Catherine Hicks), but the Rev. also gets the nod for sagely guiding his children -- and the assorted stray children who have lived in the Camden home over the years -- through a laundry list of crises: vandalism, death, cutting, racism, marriage difficulties, sex, career choices, etc. Though sometimes a little too wimpish for me, Eric is a caring father and counselor who always tries his best to do right by the children living under his roof.

∙ Some of you probably remember - DAN CONNER, John Goodman ("Roseanne") who lives on in re-runs.

Big, strong, smart, funny, warm Dan Conner is a dad who knows when to be tough and when to be soft. He’s the dad who makes thick-thick chocolate milkshakes, teases one daughter about her school crushes and shoots hoops with the other. When he’s displeased, his steely silences can reduce a child to tears. But he also is the dad who returns his new shoes to the store in order to buy his daughter a gown for the school dance.

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The problem with real life is that we don’t have script-writers who tie it all up in neat packages. We can’t turn off the cameras to shoot the scene over if our humanity shows through in a temper outburst, or with a display of selfishness, or in a moment of sinfulness!

Husbands, Dads, in all seriousness, I want to encourage you and challenge you today!

This message has the potential of changing your life! That’s a lot to claim, and I wouldn’t say it because I think I’m so smart or because I believe that I have been an amazing success as a husband or father. The potential change is based on the fact that I am bringing you the wisdom of God, and if we put it into practice, He will transform our lives.

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