Bob Tamasy: Fathers: An Underappreciated Resource?

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Upon receiving his award for Most Valuable Player in the NBA, Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant gave an emotional homage to his mother, who as a single parent raised Durant and his brother. It was a wonderful, stirring tribute to a woman who had toiled and sacrificed mightily to provide a livelihood for her sons. But underlying Durant’s glowing words of gratitude was an unanswered question: Where was their dad?

In no way do I wish to diminish the loving devotion demonstrated by Durant’s mom. She – and all single mothers like her – deserve accolades for the incredible challenge they accept each day in holding down jobs while also raising their children, hoping to build them into responsible, productive adults. The mom of Dr. Ben Carson deserves similar commendation, providing the inspiration and motivation for a young man who came from the ghetto to gain acclaim as an accomplished neurosurgeon, author, speaker and – in the view of some – become a credible candidate for President. 

Yet for every wonderful story about a single mother and her family, there’s also a back-story of an father missing in action. In many cases the dad never played much of a role in the lives of his progeny; sadly, in too many cases the biological father was absent from day one.

Having joined my wife in raising our children, and now watching them guide their children (our grandchildren) through the various stages and phases of childhood, I know how difficult the job of parenting is. How a single parent can pull it off successfully is almost beyond my comprehension. Ecclesiastes 4:9 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.” This passage clearly relates to the workplace, but also holds strong meaning for the home and parenthood. 

I greatly admire my sons-in-law as I observe their devotion to nurturing their own children. In some cases they’ve made work decisions to ensure they don’t spend too much time away from the kids. Regrettably, I think back to my own career as a newspaper editor and have to admit I spent far too many hours at the office and not nearly enough watching our daughters grow up. If I could do it over again, yes, I would do it differently.

My own dad was not a hugging, touchy-feely type of man. Few from his generation were. But he modeled for me the virtues of hard work, integrity and marital fidelity. He, like myself, wasn’t extremely vocal, but his actions spoke loudly and true. 

I think of my uncle Joe, my dad’s brother, who in many respects served as a second father. He also built into me a work ethic, a vision of what I could be, and instilled a sense of confidence. Many times after some professional accomplishment, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What Uncle Joe would say about this?”

The Bible speaks extensively about fathers and their importance for society as well as the family. The Scriptures assign fathers the primary responsibility for spiritual training of children, a role too many fathers today have neglected. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). They – along with mothers – are told to provide instruction and discipline. “Train them (your children) up in the way they should go (follow their natural bent), and when they are old they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). 

When fathers do wrong, there are consequences. The Bible speaks of the “sins of the fathers” affecting multiple generations of children (Exodus 34:7). This doesn’t mean God holds children responsible for their father’s misdeeds, as other passages make clear, but they often endure “collateral damage.” We see this today with the rise of broken homes and the emotional toll children suffer; abuse in the home, and many other problems resulting from family strife.

But this Sunday, Father’s Day, is a time to focus on the positive, celebrating the vital contribution dedicated, caring dads have in their homes and society. 

It’s also a time for remembering the only one we can count on with complete confidence, our heavenly Father – Jehovah God. Jesus assured His followers, “do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?” or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31-33).

Our earthly fathers may have failed us at times, even many times, but the Lord promises He never will. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”” (Hebrews 13:5). From personal experience, I can attest that’s true.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


"After Prayer Is Answered, What Comes Next?" Is Topic On Sunday At Middle Valley Church Of God

Middle Valley Church of God,1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, After Prayer Is Answered, What Comes Next?, in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  This sermon is part of a special series of sermons based on the need for the church to be revived.  The series is titled, His Love, Our Hope.  During this service special ... (click for more)

Release And Signing Party Set For Randy Nabors' New Book, Merciful

Rev. Randy Nabors, pastor emeritus of New City Fellowship, has just published a new book, Merciful, and the church has scheduled a book release and signing party to celebrate his achievement. This event will be held Saturday, April 25 from 4-7 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall. Subtitled “The Opportunity and Challenge of Discipling the Poor Out of Poverty,” the book presents ... (click for more)

New Attorneys Have Not Decided On Whether To Seek Mental Evaluation For Hixson Woman Facing Possible Death Penalty

New attorneys for a Hixson woman facing a possible death penalty in Catoosa County, Ga., said they have not decided whether to seek a mental evaluation for Catherine Joann Goins. Police said she lured a 30-year-old woman to a friend's house and killed her in order to steal her newborn. After District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin opted for the death penalty, two attorneys ... (click for more)

Mobile, Ala., Firm Alerted To Send Tug To Cart Off Eyesore Casey Barge

Bankruptcy Trustee Jerry Farinash said Thursday afternoon that a Mobile, Ala., firm has been told to start work on removing the Casey barge from the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga. He said Coast Guard officials inspected the barge earlier Thursday and "seemed pleased with the condition it is in." The attorney said the Coast Guard will make a re-inspection just before ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Old Hickory’ Is Toast

There is a group of women in New York, all savvy and a bit stealthy, who are plotting to kick Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, to the curb. They claim “Old Hickory” is a lout and that he is personally responsible for the embarrassing T-shirts that read, “Sure, you can trust the government … just ask an Indian” ($14.99, Amazon) Their plan is to take ... (click for more)