What it takes to be a perfect father

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Faith & Reflection

I once read an article that provided a long list of details for how one might construct the perfect father. Recognizing of course that there is no perfect father (apart from the Heavenly Father) I’ve compiled my own short list of character traits essential for fathers.

First, a father should set a good example. James Raymond, adopted as an infant, discovered at 31 years of age that his real father was the famous David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. However James’ habits, preferences and attitudes were clearly patterned after his adoptive parents, not those of his biological father. Example can be more powerful than genetics!

Second, a father should be patient and understanding. A dad once impatiently questioned the amount of time it was taking his 6 year old son to get home from school suggesting that it should only take 20 minutes. One day, thinking he would teach his son a lesson, he walked home with him. When the walk took them 90 minutes his inquisitive wife asked him what had taken them so long. He replied, “The 20 minutes was accurate, but I failed to consider such important things as a side trip to track down a trail of ants…or an educational stop to watch a man fix a flat…or the time it took to swing around a half dozen telephone poles…or the time it takes to get acquainted with two stray dogs and a brown cat. In short,” said the father, “I had forgotten what it is really like to be a six year old boy.”

Third, a father should not only have, but exhibit a heart of love. The best exhibition of love is the expenditure of time. A little boy greeted his father as he returned from work one day and asked, “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” He replied, “Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” The little fellow persisted. “Daddy, please tell me how much you make an hour.” The father finally answered, “$20 an hour.” Immediately the boy asked, “Daddy, could you lend me $10?” The dad handed him $10 and asked him why it was so important. The boy, now smiling broadly and happily answered, “I have enough! I have twenty dollars! Daddy could you sell me one hour of your time?”

In summary and from the Christian perspective, the way to exhibit love, a patient attitude and set a good example is found in the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1. It states, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

“Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!” Lydia Child

Happy Father’s Day dads!

— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church