17 December 2017

“…and finally.”

I was born at the beginning of World War 2 and was blessed with a happy family and a caring father. He was a doctor who was respected and loved by his patients. It’s as we look back on our lives to our childhood that we appreciate the value of good parenting. Discipline was strict and consistent; bad behaviour always had its consequences and forgiveness and love abounded.

In today’s society, the pressures on family life are enormous. It seems to me that what we have is more important than who we are. During and after the war, we had very little materially, but we never felt deprived and we survived. The security of the family was what was important.

In his book, “The Sixty Minute Father,” Rob Parsons tells a modern day parable of a father who nearly drops the newly born son he is holding, when he reaches into his pocket for his mobile phone which is ringing. With his wife’s help, he saves the baby, but the mobile determines never to be thwarted again. It rings in the middle of a bedtime story, or a game of monopoly, or during a serious conversation with the teenager. The father failed to spot the mobile’s strategy. Once the son left home, the phone stopped ringing!

There is a saying that children spell love T.I.M.E. and I believe it is true. We will never regret the time we have spent with our children. It doesn’t have to be “quality time” as much as “quantity time”…being there for them. I remember my Pastor telling me once, that there was a time when he was out most evenings, when his children were teenagers. The pressure was great, with meetings, services and the like. One evening he was able to be at home, while his wife was out. The family took very little notice of him all evening, going about their normal business of homework and the usual teenage activities. However as he went to bed, one son came down to say goodnight and added, “Dad, it’s been really good having you home this evening!” The Pastor’s comment to me was profound. “Ultimately there’s no substitute for a parent!”

There is still no guarantee that our children will turn out the way we hope, but we might regret opportunities missed; time spent on less important interests and the loss of relationships with our children.

Fathers, enjoy those precious moments!

And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love flows toward you. 1 Thess.3.12

Fiona Castle