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.


Antioch Missionary Baptist Hosts 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church will host a 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet Celebration in honor of Reverend Gerry W. Davis and First Lady Chandra Davis. The Theme will be "A Pastor with a Heart to Serve" based on 2 Chronicles 31:21. Gospel Artist Benita Washington will be featured as well. The celebration will take place on Saturday, August 23, at 7 p.m. in the ... (click for more)

Hixson UMC Offers Spanish Immersion Preschool

Hixson United Methodist Child Development Center will be offering Spanish Immersion Preschool, child care for 3-5 year olds, beginning on September 3rd. The program will run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (The option of extended hours in a full time CDC classroom is available.) Except for the start date, this preschool will follow the Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)