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September 10, 2021 6:00 am
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Today on Focus on the Family were going to share the hope that fathers can find when they seek God is the ultimate parenting role model, especially guys who didn't have good relationship with their own father will start with the click here from Kathy lecturing about her own difficult relationship with her dad. He was a broken man.
They went to things I really learned in this circumstance is that health everybody in our lives has have a different toolbox and they each get a little different set of tools and my tools for my dad were missing or broken by he did the best he could to build the life that he wanted for me with the broken tools he had your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and Jim it's just you and me in the studio.
That's right, John, and I think Kathy's commentary is the perfect setup to our topic today. Many of us did grow up with fathers who might not have been given the best set of tools in their parenting toolbox and they could only do so much. But here's the point.
It is possible to be a good dad. Even if you didn't have one. The Lord wants us to learn from our experiences so that he can teach us and bring good even from less than ideal circumstances to get started. I'd like to share a speech I gave recently as a quick way to share my testimony and the impact that for father figures had on my life. I had a biological data, stepdad of foster dad who all let me down.
But there was 1/4 man, a football coach who was a believer who really helped turn things around and if your single mom listening today who my heart goes out to you.
Please stay with this.
Maybe this program will be something you'd like to share with the father of your child or with a grandparent who could step into that role and mentor. That's a good point Jim and I let's go ahead and hear your message given to the home educators Association of Virginia on today's episode of Focus on the Family and for me being that kid I me I had the pages just kept turning, and the life just kept going down is born into a family. I was the fifth child all my siblings are your part. Boom boom boom than six years after my closest sibling was born I was born I was the baby anybody the baby the accident.
That's how you're introduced. This is our accident.
Very you know good for your confidence. Yes, I'm the accident child but my mom and dad were struggling. My dad had a problem with alcohol and when I was five.
It was done mine and got arrested. My mom was on the run. He was trying to get back with us and my mom wanted to keep him away from the five kids and her every arise in a different elementary school at some point Compton was the longest elementary school I was attending a year and 1/2. Just a lot of change my life constantly constantly constantly and I remember my mom one day she was not feeling well. She remarried Guy Hank Hank, the tank is an X military drill sergeant I had nicknames for everybody. I was nine, he was Hank the tank he would go white glove test in our bedrooms and if you didn't pass, you had to do something I didn't hang up my jacket one time you made me hang it up 500 times but that was Hank and they were married only for about a year and 1/2 and to Hank's credit Hank really love my mom but he hated the kids hated us and it showed.
When my mom died of cancer. We came back from the funeral and Hank attacked all of his bags put our stuff in little boxes in the living room and sold all of our furniture in order made by that that wasn't Hank's furniture. That was our furniture but we came home to an empty house after the funeral and Hank came out of the bedroom said I can't take this pressure. I'm leaving like nine going.
I can take it either. What I do we get to go to foster care and the day before my mom died, the hope family led her to the Lord.
They were our neighbors. I'm not kidding.
This is God, or what.
HOPE hopes the hopes came and said to my mom. January you need to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, friends and neighbors for a couple years, but they had the courage to go in and mentioned this to her. My mom knew the golden role. It was of that era were she taught us the right stuff to a great sense of humor. All those things in general lot great character, but she didn't have a relationship with Christ, so that change that day and I think it was the relationship with my between the Lord and my mom I can imagine my mom's prayers. In those last 24 hours of her life with a child 19 and then 17 1615 and nine. What she must been praying known she was going to die and not knowing what perhaps knowledgeable but not knowing exactly what Hank would do so we went into foster care might my brother Dave and D and I in the name of this family was the real family. I'm not joking. The reels are EIL reels. I member I didn't really know the Lord. I heard my mom accepted Christ but nobody spent time tell me what that meant. At nine years old that sad and I can just remember going to this family and think, and this is the real family had four sons 18-year-old son Dave that you're married is 42-year-old cousin Maggie, and maybe the morning but did you hear what I just said you guys, he was 18 she was 40 yet. Thank you very much. And Paul knew my brother Dave and then there was Gary who died of AIDS is 14. At that time but died of AIDS price seven years later in the market was eight years old. Mark is great he is now a state trooper in Utah used to steal my toys.
Sorry my mom was so good. She'd always addressed taught us how to address adult so I would go to Mrs. real nights a nine years old. Mrs. real Marquis took my four headless G.I. Joe's there in his drawer. I was asking permission to re-steal my G.I. Joe's and she looked at me. She said you know Jimmy, you're just not fitting in with our family. Marquis would never steal anything you don't know your son. I just remember I remember when she said that I was thinking in a nine-year-old way I was thinking, that's a good thing I'm not fit in with your family.
I mean I'm no genius but thank you for the compliment and I know at least the reels did open their home up to. I'm grateful for that. But the point of that really is where are you learning who you are in a very early age I did figure out a couple of things one adult had a hard time telling the truth. That was my world is crazy. Six months into living with the real family.
The social worker came out for first case visit. She is a very wise older woman. Pride 24 in the social workers like 24 just got a college and got no for couple years till we foster kids beat this not out of which he was sitting across the table from me is a kind of puppy crushed my first one. She was cute and I fell in love with my social worker and my brother Dave was sitting at the table and she looked at me and she said Jimmy we have a problem. I said yes we do. Thank you. The first adult that is recognize that even though she's only 24 but she looked at me and said no Mr. real said you try to kill him. Thank you.
That was exactly my response in this one or two of you go what did you all know I was like a shot as the social worker was, in fact I member I'm nine years old and I said how did I try to kill them is probably what tipped her off right and she looked at me with a little wry smile. I'm telling you what a child can pick up on drops of affection of affirmation that little smile she had in her face as she was talking to me told me everything I needed to know that she did not believe him. She believed me, and she smiled and she said well he said you try to push them off a cliff in my little voice I said, but we live in Marengo Valley is an absolute true story verbatim. We live in Marengo Valley and she said yeah. I don't know what were going to do, but there's two options you can hunker down here at the reels. Note that word meant first time I heard it or we can split you into different foster households and I member my brother who's 18 is sitting there saying a word. She's looking at me what you want to do.
I said why think hunkering down here would be better so we do live there another six months with this guy thinking I was trying to kill him so odd that might my dad reappeared. My bio dad and I hung on his leg. The whole time while he visited us at the reels at the end of the day said would you like to come and live with me.
Yes, but you came from an alcoholic home. It was like dad which dad would I get so my sister and I moved in with him for about a year and he was still struggling drinking better, but still struggling. I member when my sister turned 18. One year later and we lived there year and 1/2 or so at the end of the reels I was in becoming up on 12 years old son 11 1/2 and I member the family. My siblings didn't think I should live with my dad by myself. So they said, you know, we think you should move out. Move in with Dave, my brother, who was now 19 or 20 marriages pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend when they got married. I looked at a supply call your mom near closer to my age than my brothers age but this is crazy isn't it. God does get into the story. Hang on. If you notice the Bible is full of messy people. Have you noticed I had to tell my father is the sibling said he will not hear it from us.
You have to tell him half get a theme here figure out where you live. Tell your dad you don't want to live with them anymore member at the family conference. Looking at my father and saying you know data. I just don't think I should live with you anymore after D's moved out and he looked invincible. Why you prepped me for that question. So I'm sitting there for what felt like eternity, thinking what would I say to my father.
I said well because of the way you treated mom and to his credit, he stood up he came over and hugged me and he said I love you but I wasn't a good husband and I'm not a good father and anyways that's character recognizing your failure and I hugged him and he walked out and died four months later.
I never saw him after that encounter died frozen to death in the building and abandoned building drunk. I usually don't share that part of the story.
The amazing thing. The last two weeks of his life. He volunteered at church so maybe I may end up seeing him in heaven.
I don't know when to be amazing to going okay. What happens next will from boy well then you just have to say Lord you're in control right. I'm not yet acquainted with the Lord and Savior. I've heard about them. Nobody spent time tell me about it yet at 15.
A football coach. I had Paul Mauro, who just died. I did his funeral and he was awesome. He was a believer. He and his wife Joyce and they invited me and paid the $500 for me to go to the Fellowship of Christian athletes camp in point Loma and this guy is a quarterback of the San Diego Chargers at the time the speaker that was there. Jeff I think his first name is Jeff. I can members last he came up to the podium is only 40 of us guys play football all day and listen to the speaker and laugh and giggle at them because he is a Christian guy would see no no and this guy got up there and said has your father let you down as your stepfather let you down. I thought the next thing is to save Mr. real let you down right is going well, this guy's got my dossier and he said all I'll introduce you to someone who will never let you down.
Jesus Christ will be a father to you, especially if you don't have a father you will be a father to the fatherless. How I'm bawling. I went up there is a 15-year-old and accepted Jesus as my Savior and I'm telling you what, and I guess this is the point.
The clear point character counts and we learn character in the valleys you learn learn who you are and I think for all of us in the room, especially if you're being raised in a good home, home of love and kindness and joy and peace. You can take those things for granted and forget or not realize because you're on the mountaintop with the Valley is not. I would say run to a valid learn who you are, this is Focus on the Family that of course is Pres. Jim Daly and Joyce appreciate your last point there we really do learn more about ourselves and about God when we go through difficult times. It's true, John, and that illustrates why I'm not bitter about the experiences I had as a boy I could've been but when I became a Christian at age 15 I found God is my heavenly father someone who I could always count on and I always had a great role model and coach Paul Mauro. He and his wife would have us football players over for dinner and I would just watch how he treated her always kind always respectful and he was my fourth father figure and a great one. In fact, he enjoys actually offered to adopt me and it was such a difficult decision.
I was amazed that he asked. He cared that much about me and I would say why me wisely noticing that what does he see in me and I'll tell you I was tempted to say yes, but I was living with my brother at the time and I didn't want to hurt his feelings by doing that, but that offer of adoption is a very close parallel to what our heavenly father does for us. He adopts us into his family of believers, and he mentors us and then through the years.
The Lord was my role model of that perfect father and he gave me the empathy to be able to forgive my three imperfect dads which is critical. We can't allow ourselves to be trapped in unforgiveness and I think we've talked about this before and I think the quote is attributed to St. Augustine, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies, he really does only hurt you so true you know I forgave my dad because I know he did love me he was in the grip of alcoholism, though, and that consumed him.
I forgave Mr. real because I feel sorry for him. He had mental health issues, and I don't know all that he was struggling with, but he wasn't in a good place and I still struggle to forgive Hank my stepdad who was a man that simply walked out on five grieving kids the day of their mom's funeral. Who does that. And every time Hank comes to my mind. I asked the Lord to help me continue to deepen that forgiveness for him. I'm sure many of you struggle with unforgiveness. And I want to make sure that you know were here to help you. Just call us and we will make sure counselor gets back to you to request a call back from one of our counselors when you get in touch with us or numbers 800 a family 800-232-6459 and will also have the link in the episode notes and John the last time we aired my testimony. We received a note from a police officer named Bill.
He said I heard your story of your troubled childhood admin and law enforcement for four decades and have cultivated an image as a tough guy.
I can hear just about anything and not show emotion hearing of the deaths of your mother and father had me crying like a baby. I'm so glad that God has worked in your life the way he has man that is touching to me that it touched him in that way that is remarkable and I'm so glad the bills shared that comment with us. It it really does illustrate the fact that children need their parents in it strikes a chord in a swing that primary relationship gets broken gym in your book, the good dad you had some great research about the importance of father's let me share a few statistics on the downside, what happens when children live without a father, and then I want to share some really encouraging data on how fathers provide great benefits to their families and even their neighborhoods in every scientific measurement of child well-being around the globe. The research consistently reveals that fatherlessness is profoundly harmful to children and society 25% of households in America are fatherless, 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes. 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes and finally children from fatherless homes are four times more likely to live in poverty pretty startling and depressing picture Jim. Well that's true but now for the positive. Dr. Brad Wilcox of the National marriage Project says that the best research still shows that for all races, kids who live with a married mother and father are nearly guaranteed to never live in poverty, or spend time in jail and that's incredible. They will graduate from high school and successfully enter the workforce and they are dramatically more likely to attend college and fathers are not just impacting their own families. A Harvard study shows that having fathers in a neighborhood makes a big difference for children school success and employment rates. This is particularly true for young black males. The study concluded quote more black fathers in the village translates into better economic equality for black men. Fathers are so powerful they impact children beyond their own homes. Yeah, I think that is so true, and I certainly saw that as our kids were growing up we had some children in the neighborhood who didn't have a dad around.
They just glommed on to elucidate the hunger only watched me very closely interacting with my kids and with them they it seems like they just knew intuitively that there was some security there.
That's right. Fathers provide the sense of strength and protection and that takes nothing away from mom's. I mean that's the irony. There's also exciting new research showing that fathers make a big impact in the transmission of their faith to the next generation, Dr. Vern Bankston of the University of Southern California, says that 56% of fathers and children who have close relationships also share the same level of religious participation.
If that father child relationship is weak faith aspect drops by 20% in his study showed that father closeness mattered more than mother closeness now minimize I would not of expected dad and as we can turn a corner help at some practical ideas for dads well parenting really young kids can be a challenge, but it's important to get down on their level literally it on the floor look at them I do I see what they're doing moms instinctively know how to play with their kids dads bond through doing something and when little ones can't do something with us. We feel a little lost. Sometimes we need to Legos with our boys sipped imaginary tea with the daughters that we can learn our children's love languages. I remember reading that book and I asked Troy he was pray for what your love language and I read in the listing of physical touch. He knew it just like that and that connected us. We still refer to that so we can learn our children's love languages, learning styles, and personalities.
When we spend time with them and that helps future communication go more smoothly. Let me also mention promises because there were so many broken promises in my life. Be careful guys what you promise to do.
You need to keep those promises. And when I was seven. My dad promised to bring me a baseball mitt for my birthday and he just never showed up. The difficulty in that day was my friend Ricky was with me and walking to the curb in a back-and-forth member at the end of the day just hit me in the shoulder and said, I'm sure he'll bring it to just never happened.
He never came.
While I'm so sorry for that story, Jim. I really just grabs me every time he shared that and it does reflect how important it is to the child for us as dads to keep those promises. It doesn't seem like it's a big deal or it seems like it's less important but not to the child. Well, I think some kids their temperament, they hang on every promise and when you kill that promise. It kills a little part of their heart. Kids are like that. There are no perfect parents except for our father in heaven. He's always loving and he always gives us his best and thank God he keeps his promises right yes he maintains firm expectations.
Of course, while being ready to forgive when we ask God is that perfect parent and yet his children still disappoint him. God's relationship with us is the epitome of striving to be a good dad. Let's follow his example, if today's program has whetted your appetite to become a better father. Let me encourage you to go see a new movie from the Kendrick brothers who have produced great faith-based films like overcome her and fireproof their documentary called show me the father opens tonight in theaters across North America. The film explores five powerful true stories about earthly fathers, including my testimony and how God really is the perfect father I got involved with the film because I know that God can be a father to men longing for his love and for the sake of the next generation. So get out and watch you show me the father I know you're going to be blessed by you find it to be really encouraging and inspiring. It's great and you know John and I we talked to a lot of really great godly men here in our studio and I think it was Kevin Lehman who said that men tend to be loners were just not wired like women are. We can go tinker in our garage were on the golf course and avoid talking about our feelings or our relationships but we don't hesitate to ask for help when we need it like a plumber, electrician, someone with more skills than we have that we need to allow ourselves to ask for help to do a better job fathering her children so please let us that Focus on the Family help you and we have so many great resources and we also have a team of Christian counselors who would count it a privilege to spend some time on the phone with you and hear you out and give you some wise biblical advice and don't worry about feeling embarrassed and we've heard it all. And for those of you who can help support us financially to be that helping a person's moment of need. Would you consider supporting focus. If you can make a donation of any amount I'd like to send you my book, the good dad as our way of saying thank you and just give us a call numbers 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or you can donate online and request Jim's book of the links are in the episode's on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast lease do a couple of things for his help us spread the word by leading the review or rating wherever you get your podcast and then sure about this episode with a friend might be, you know, dad needs some encouragement about how Courtney is to his kids. On behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team. Thanks for listening to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.
As we once again help your family thrive to mark lines and even their trombones and forgetting the Bible to bring across the nation.
Encourage your kids to carry their mind and empower them with Joshua 19 let God's word and her and never forgotten your voice heard