"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 15, 2011
Happy Father's Day
(And Happy Anniversary to me and Jon on the 18th!)
On Sunday we will be celebrating Father's Day. I hope all you fathers have a blessed day and enjoy time with your family, if possible.
Many times on Father's Day it seems as if we hear sermons about honoring the father, which is important. We may hear a list of things we need to do in order to show more respect for our dad. Men are placed upon a pedestal for the day and are encouraged to kick back and be waited on hand on foot by their wife and kids; which is not so different from any other Sunday for some guys.
I asked myself, "What makes a great father?" I think at times we have this slightly skewed perspective of dads. It's as if we think it is somehow inborn within a man to automatically know how to be a good dad when his first child is born. He should instinctively know how to best teach and train his children so they can become responsible adults. But I think a key to a man becoming a good father is having his own dad as an example of what a good father should be like. Granted, men who didn't have a good father, or even those who were raised without a father, can be good dads; but I daresay that in most cases, somewhere along the line they had a man in their lives that they respected and looked up to; whether it be a pastor, teacher, next door neighbor, uncle, step-father, employer, etc.
Observing how their dad treated their mom can be a big influence on a boy and impact how they treat their own wife. Seeing how their dad behaves toward others and handles various life situations can be significant in the life of a young man. How their dad interacted with them from the time they're a small child until they grow up and leave home greatly impacts a boy. Those very same things can also effect a daughter.
The words that a father speaks to their child also has a very strong influence. I'm not sure that we completely comprehend how much weight our words can have on others; especially a child. The words of a parent can make a child feel secure and loved, or they can make a child feel inferior, as if they are somehow lacking in some way.
Here's an example: A couple are blessed with a baby boy. The father is ecstatic, thinking, "I now have a son who will enjoy doing all the things I like to do, and when he grows up we can have a good time together." Only as the boy grows up, he doesn't have any of the same interest as his dad, and they don't enjoy any of the same hobbies or pastimes. Instead the son would rather do things with his mom, such as help her cook or garden. The dad is thoroughly frustrated and feels that he has nothing in common with his son, so instead of trying to find something they could enjoy together, he takes his frustration out on his son. The father may begin calling his son a sissy and start making fun of him. He may even say hurtful things such as, "You act just a little girl!" The son begins feeling like there must be something wrong with him, and knows that he doesn't measure up to his father's expectations. It doesn't help if there are other sons who do enjoy the same things as the father. Or possibly even a daughter that enjoys hanging out with dad and doing the same things as he does. The "left out" son can feel rejected and even feel like an outcast.
Colossians 3:21 says, "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
I've heard it said that many times peoples' viewpoint of God as a Father is in direct correlation to their relationship with their earthly father. If their dad was critical and a harsh disciplinarian, then they tend to think of God as being hard to please, and think that He's just waiting for them to mess up so He can come down on them and discipline them harshly. If their dad was a hard working man, but never had time to spend with them and was always too busy to do things with them or listen to them, they tend to think that God is too busy for them and doesn't hear them when they pray. If their father had a lot of rules and was strict in what they were and weren't allowed to do, they perceive God as being the same. If their dad called them names and made fun of them and they felt like they never quite measure up to his expectations, they tend to feel like they're never quite good enough to meet God's expectations for them.
Let me ask you dads, if your children's perception of God correlates to their upbringing and how you interacted with them and treated them, do they have a healthy viewpoint of God? Being a father is a huge responsibility that far surpasses you making sure they're taken care of financially. There's also a huge difference between fathering a child and being a father.
Calling your kids names, even in jest, can make them feel inferior. Laughingly telling them that they're dumb or stupid is not a way to build their self-esteem and confidence. Can you imagine our Heavenly Father telling us that we're dummies and act stupidly? He might laugh and say, "You make me laugh" or "You're funny" when we do silly things, but God would never make derogatory remarks to put us down.
When we mess up and make mistakes, God doesn't chew us out and make us feel worse than we already do. But I believe God is patient and encourages us to get up and try again. Fathers should take that same approach with their children.
Some men seem to have the notion that bragging on their kids will fill them with too much pride. But have you ever seen a child's eyes light up when their dad gives them a hug and says, "Good job!"? Boosting your son or daughter's confidence is not a sin and is not going to make them into snobs; but it can build their self-esteem. Too often, it seems as if a dad has a problem bragging on their kids and telling them how proud he is of them, but has no difficulty saying those things to a grandchild. I've seen men do a complete 180 from how he interacted with his children when they were growing up and how he interacts with and treats his grandchildren. He may have been a harsh disciplinarian, grabbing whatever was at hand to spank his kids, and being rough with his treatment of them; but he will let his grandkids do whatever they want and laugh at their antics, that may be similar to what his kids did when they were small and earned them a spanking and chewing out. Honestly, how do you think this makes your kids feel? I'm sure they don't want their kids to be treated in the same manner that they were, but inside I think it may hurt a little too. I've even heard adults say that they don't want to become parents due to how they were treated as kids, because they're afraid they'll treat their kids in the same manner and cause them to resent and hate them. I've heard grandparents excuse their behavior, saying that it's much easier being a grandparent because you can spoil the little ones and don't have the responsibility of raising the child. But let me encourage you fathers: If you know you're behavior was questionable and your treatment of your children was not in a manner that pleased God, it's not too late to apologize, even if your children are now adults and have kids and grandkids of their own. Make sure there are no hurt feelings or buried resentment.
A real pet peeve of mine is men who get onto and/or yell at their sons when they cry. It's as if they think if their boy shows any emotion or sensitivity that it will make them effeminate; after all, "real" men don't cry. Hogwash and bologna! "Why are you crying? I wasn't even yelling at you!" Here's the biggie: "If you don't stop crying, then I'll give you something to cry about!" Don't you think your son would stop crying if he could? Boys go through adolescence where they're bodies are changing and some are more sensitive during those years. It's difficult enough without having their dad getting frustrated and upset with them for crying. And if you have more than one son, they may all handle it differently, so you can't judge how they're each going to react by how one acted during those pre-teen years. I think moms tend to be more understanding and sensitive to those emotions than dads are. Dads tend to not want to deal with the tears, so want their son to "man up" and force themselves to stop crying.
I think this is pretty common. I've had nephews who were extra sensitive during their pre-teen years and I saw my brothers-in-law reactions as they got frustrated and told their son to stop crying and got onto them. Jon said he went through the same thing with his dad. He thinks perhaps his older brother wasn't like that during those years, so his dad didn't know how to respond and handle his emotions. But sometimes it can be daughters that cause that same sense of frustration in dads.
Jon and I were recently eating out and there was a large family group at the table next to us. They had just got settled and the waitress was serving the drinks when a young girl, probably around 11 or 12, spilt her drink. She was sitting beside her dad and it went all over the table, onto the floor and splashed onto her dad's foot. The girl immediately burst into tears. I'm sure she was just embarrassed. I think it was grandparents, an aunt and uncle, her parents and a sister at the table. The mom, who was sitting across the table, went into "mom mode" immediately and jumped up and ran around the table to her daughter. She asked the waitress for a towel, then put her arm around her daughter and was assuring her, "It was just an accident. It's okay; don't worry about it." She took her into the bathroom to get her dried off and settled down. The dad's response was completely different! When the drink was spilt, he rolled his eyes and got this really exasperated look on his face and I could tell that he was totally put out that this had happened. He quietly hissed at his daughter, "Stop crying!" Young daughter hormones can be trying for a father! Men just don't handle tears very well, most times.
Being a man that your family can honor and respect is one the greatest accomplishments you can achieve. You can't demand and command that your wife and kids respect you. In fact, you really can't even "make" your kids constantly obey your every command. You can discipline them and try to teach them right from wrong, but you can't force obedience. Frustrating, huh?!? Telling your family, "You WILL listen to me; you Will obey me; and you Will respect me," doesn't necessarily bring about the desired results. You can't demand respect, it has to be earned. You have to prove that you're worthy of that respect.
Daddy was one of the manliest men I knew. He was stout and strong as an ox and a hard worker. But he never fished or hunted; in fact, he never even owned a gun. Why would he? He wasn't going to shoot anything. And sports? That was a total waste of time as far as Daddy was concerned. I never knew him to watch a ballgame of any kind. When our family got together on holidays, my sisters' husbands would want to watch a ballgame on TV. Daddy would come over where my sisters and I were visiting (June was usually off doing something; she had a hard time sitting still) and talk with us. We frequently visited with aunts and uncles when I was growing up. A lot of times the men would sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking, and the women would sit in the living room and visit. I remember some of my uncles teasing Daddy about sitting where he could listen to the women's conversation. Seems like his reply would be that what they were talking about was more interesting. Daddy liked to read books. He liked to wear overalls, even when he was a young boy. All the pictures we have of him when he was young, he had on overalls. When I was a kid, he'd wear dress pants to church. But then as he got older, overalls was all he ever wore. He wore his newer ones to church and when they got tattered, they were worn to work in.
Daddy only had a 6th grade education (if I remember correctly), but he was smart and had a lot of common sense. He didn't like cutting wood, although we heated with a wood stove at home. He'd cut enough to get by for a while, then go get more when we'd almost used up our supply. Probably Daddy's favorite job was the years he spent as a bulldozer operator. He enjoyed working the dirt and seeing the results.
Daddy never smoked and never drank. He loved God and loved his family. Daddy loved his five girls! I've had people make comments about Daddy living in a house with six females and that they bet he wished he had a boy. Honestly, I don't think he did. His perspective was that girls were easy to raise, and boys would have been trouble. In some ways, it seemed as if Daddy was strict. But looking back, I see that he was doing what he thought was best at the time and wanted to make sure we were raised having high standards. Even though he worked hard, Daddy always had time for his family. I never felt like he was too busy for me. We sat around the table as a family and ate meals; we went to church together as a family; we piled in the car and went on Sunday afternoon drives; we went visiting in the evenings as a family; we all even went to "town" on Saturday's many times. I can't remember any of us girls ever going through a stage where we didn't want to hang out with our parents or each other, but we always enjoyed doing things together as a family.
I'm so thankful that God chose Haston Doyal Horton as my earthly father. Daddy has been gone for almost 4 years now, and there are still times when I wish I could pick up the phone and call to ask him a question. I miss sitting down and visiting with him. But I know that someday we will be reunited. I know that the day will come when Daddy, Mama and we five girls will get to set down together and visit as long as we want. They'll get to meet some of their grandkids and their spouses, as well as great-grandkids for the first time. Mama will get to meet Jon, Jimmy and Art for the first time and see who her girls married. She was there for Joyce's and Shirley's weddings, but not mine, Janie's, or Linda's. It's going to be a glorious reunion!
Happy Father's Day to Jon's dad, Stan. Happy Father's Day to my brothers-in-law, and to my nephews and nephews-in-law who are now daddies. Happy Father's Day to Ken and Stuart (Jon's brother and brother-in-law), his nephew, Kevyn, and nephew-in-law, Brad. Happy Father's Day to all our family and friends. We pray your day will be blessed. Be daddies that will make God and your family proud!
Husbands that aren't fathers aren't quite off the hook. Paul wrote to the Ephesians on how husbands and wives should behave. He told husbands (Chapter 5, verse 25-29), "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." I've heard the first line many times, but like to include the rest. It's pretty deep, and can be a little hard to follow. Jesus died for our salvation, and to offer us forgiveness. If we want forgiveness from Jesus, we must also show forgiveness to our wives. If we want patience from Him, we must show them patience.
A few weeks ago, Loretta opened the truck door a little too far. At some time later, we shook the truck, bumped the door, or something, and the door swung the rest of the way open to put a small ding in our car. Loretta thought at first that I was mad at her. But I told her that I wasn't mad, just disappointed. "That's worse!", she said. I thought "Huh?!" I don't really understand why it's worse, but have gotten over it long ago--it's just a little ding, and besides, I've put a bigger ding in the front bumper and hood from a mailbox.
In the context of Ephesians 5, even if I don't quite understand why being disappointed is worse than being mad, I do have a lot to think about. Am I more hurt when God is disappointed in me or when He is angry with me? Does He really get angry with me? I sure hope not! But how often do I disappoint Him?
Daddy loved mexican food! When we all got together he liked it when we brought mexican dishes. These enchiladas were probably his favorite. The Thursday before Daddy unexpectedly passed away, Janie and I had drove up to visit him and June and spent the night, having no idea this would be the last time we'd get to spend time with him. Before we left for home on Friday, Daddy and June were wanting to eat lunch, and really wanted tacos. So Janie and I made a trip to Taco Bell in Berryville, picked some up for them and brought back to their house. When we walked in, we both cracked up. There sat Daddy and June at the kitchen table waiting on us to bring their tacos. We're so thankful we took the time to do this, because it's the last memory we have of Daddy before he went to be with Jesus.
1 dozen corn tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
1 pound hamburger
8 oz. Velveeta cheese
shredded cheddar cheese
1 can beef gravy
Brown hamburger and onion together; add salt and pepper to taste; drain. Mix beef gravy and enchilada sauce together. Cut Velveeta into slices (I cut the block of cheese vertically, then cut into slices). Pour half the enchilada sauce mixture in with the meat and stir. Spoon some of the sauce into the bottom of the baking pan to keep enchiladas from sticking. Place 1-2 Tbsp. of meat mixture inside tortilla; put a slice of Velveeta on top of mixture. Roll up tortilla and place in pan. Do this until all the ingredients used up. Pour remaining sauce over the top. Liberally cover with shredded cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole on top, if desired.
Daddy was a quiet man and didn't like to be the center of attention. He didn't do things to draw attention to himself and was happier in the background.
When the family would get together for dinners, Daddy would often pray before the meal. It was kind of a running family joke that when Daddy prayed you could hardly hear him and had to peek to see when he was finished. Daddy's response was generally along the lines, "Well, I'm not praying to you; you don't need to hear what I'm saying."
Also, when we would talk to Daddy on the phone, he never said bye. When he finished talking, he'd hang up. Now he might or might not say something to somewhat alert you to the fact that he was done, but if you didn't respond quick enough you'd hear a click. He wasn't being rude, he had just said all he had to say and was finished with the conversation.
On hot summer nights, when I was a kid, Daddy would sometimes pull his old flatbed truck down in the yard underneath the two big oak trees. He and Mama would take the mattress of their bed and put it on back of the truck and sleep outside.
Every night before going to sleep we girls would all say, "Good night all of you, I love all of you." Mama would reply to each of us, "Goodnight I love you all." Daddy wouldn't say anything unless we'd say, "Goodnight, Daddy!" Sometimes he'd say goodnight, but often he'd just say, "Yeah."
One of my fondest memories is having Daddy walk me down the aisle when Jon and I got married. That was important to me that he did that. I had secretly decided that when Daddy gave me away that I was going to kiss him on the cheek. I hadn't mentioned it to anyone. For one thing, I knew I would be a little nervous and wasn't sure I'd remember when the time came. For another, Daddy was not one to show his emotions and hug, especially in public. But I was his baby girl, and the last one he'd ever walk down the aisle, so I really wanted to do this. When I gave him the hug and peck on the cheek, I knew that he was getting emotional because he cleared his throat, which was a response we girls knew well. When Daddy had a hard time saying how he felt or was touched by something we said or did, he'd start clearing his throat. Those few moments with him walking me down the aisle and giving me away to Jon were precious moments that I wouldn't trade for anything and will always cherish. Jon had also proposed to me in front of Daddy (as well as a few other family members) which meant a lot to Daddy and really touched him that he got to be there to FINALLY see me become engaged.
This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my daddy.
A family altar can alter a family.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon