A STORY is told of a farrier (a craftsman who trims and shoes horses’ hooves) named Roy in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the early 1800s. He had to take care of his three children, the eldest of whom was Glen, 8, after his wife died a couple of years earlier of tuberculosis.
One cold wintry evening, Roy told Glen to go with him to get food for the children. On the way, Roy stopped at the tavern, which he frequented even more after his wife died.
He told Glen to wait outside and keep himself warm by the fire where the horses were tied.
Fathers play a very important role in their children’s upbringing.
Hours later, he staggered out, growled at Glen for falling asleep, dumped a bag of chips into Glen’s frozen hands and told him to follow him home. It had snowed heavily.
After walking a short while, Roy turned to see if Glen was following behind.
In the dim light from the few houses around, Roy was startled to see Glen, walking far behind, slowly and carefully putting his tattered boots into each of his big bootprints in the snow.
Roy watched this for a minute or so, then rushed to Glen and grabbed the terrified boy in his arms. He realised Glen was following in his footsteps. Tears flowed down Roy’s rugged, weather-beaten face as he thought of how uncaring he had been for his family.
Roy rushed home carrying Glen, for whom all this was too much to understand. He picked up two pairs of horseshoes he had finished that day, rushed to the store nearby and traded it for a cut of meat, two loaves of bread and hot gruel.
For the first time in his life, Roy hugged his children, fed them and told them about how their dear mother, often with little of anything at home, had fetched water, washed and cleaned, collected firewood to cook and heat their home, cared for and fed the children and sang beautifully and prayed with them.
With tears streaming down his face, Roy told them: “Mama’s watching us from heaven.” Sadly, many adults abandon their family responsibilities and are too preoccupied with chasing after their own pursuits and pleasures.
To children, their father is an example. The question is, will we be a good one or a bad one?
Fathers need to do everything they can to be a good influence on their children.
The ninth-century B.C. King David, on his deathbed, exhorted his son, who was to be king after him, with these words: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts.
“If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”
Our children must see “whatsoever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy” lived in our lives as much as we tell them how to live theirs.
To all fathers, may you have a blessed Fathers Day.
Strong dads, strong families
If you are a father, we hope that today, you are in a relaxed mood as your loved ones honour you with special meals, cards and shirts or ties that you may or may not end up wearing.
We know that you do not want it to be a big fuss, but humour them because they feel you deserve the pampering.
On this Fathers Day, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fathers and father figures in our lives — stepfathers, grandfathers and uncles, among others. Fathers are not what they used to be, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Years ago, the stereotypical father left most of the parenting to others, ostensibly because he had more important things to do.
In many societies, including ours, the traditional roles of the father were that of moral teacher, disciplinarian, male role model and breadwinner.
Though fathers exhibited a strong presence in family life, they were not directly or heavily involved in child-rearing. However, the continuing shift from extended to nuclear families has seen both mothers and fathers adopting a more personal approach when it comes to child-rearing, and the influence of fathers on their children has taken on added significance.
Today’s fathers are likely to equally share duties, such as cleaning, cooking and nappy-changing. They are more visible and, more importantly, they are listening.
This is especially true of many men in their 30s and 40s who are embracing fatherhood. It is still a work in progress, and they are discovering that parenting is a lifetime commitment — at times difficult, messy, exhausting and overwhelming.
And, yet, parenthood is one of the most joy-filled and rewarding pursuits, they say. Research shows that children perform better academically, have fewer disciplinary problems and become responsible adults when both parents are actively involved in their upbringing.
While we sing the praises of dedicated fathers, we know that far too many fathers are missing, leaving their children without a crucial role model, and source of love and stability.
We are talking about the delinquent ones who abandon their responsibilities, forcing others — usually these men’s wives — to be both mother and father to their children.
As we celebrate another Fathers Day this weekend, we are saddened by the attitude of fathers who do not live up to the name. To them, we say, find a way to come back and make a positive impact on your family’s life.
And, please get help in returning to the right path. Some people are fortunate to have fathers who love and support them, and at times, are tough on them.
Disagreements notwithstanding, these fathers are always there when their children need them. Men do not have to be perfect to be good fathers. What it takes is a constant dose of love and presence.
If you are wondering what to get your father on this occasion, the best gift is one that money cannot buy: a call or visit, and sincere words of thanks. Happy Fathers Day. The NST Editorial Opinion Sunday, June 19, 2016 - 11:00AM