Like Father, Like Son

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Sometimes events creep up on us. Such is the case with my article a couple weeks ago. After it was already posted, I realized that it went out a few days before Father’s Day. Duh. I missed it.

But I can’t let this important day go by without a few words about fathers. Today is the day before my father’s 103rd birthday. I believe this is an appropriate time for this topic.

A teacher asked her students to write a story about “My Father.” One eight-year-old wrote:

“My father is great. He can swim big wide rivers and climb very high mountains. He can fight tigers and jungle animals and can even beat monsters. He can wrestle alligators and jump very high. But most of the time he just takes out the garbage.”

On a more serious note, here’s a poem about a father:

To get his goodnight kiss he stood beside my chair one night
And raised an eager face to me, a face with love alight.

And as I gathered in my arms the son God gave to me,
I thanked the lad for being good, and hoped he’d always be.

His little arms crept ‘round my neck and then I heard him say
Four simple words I can’t forget – four words that made me pray.

They turned a mirror on my soul, on secrets no one knew.
They startled me, I hear them yet; he said, “I’ll be like you.”

Charlie Shedd (1915-2004), Presbyterian pastor and author, quotes a famous psychiatrist as saying: “No little child will think more of God than he thinks of his father.” A youngster apparently cannot contrast. He can only compare.

Shedd imagines a child thinking, “God is like my father. I’m not so sure my father really cares much about me. He’s always playing golf, watching television, reading the newspaper. Besides, he isn’t very nice to my mother. He’s not even fair. I don’t think I’d like God.”

Shedd suggests a good short speech for a father to give to his children: “Listen to me, troops. When I’m the kind of father I should be, that’s what God is like! Where I am not so hot, I hope you’ll learn the all-important process of contrast.”

“Wherever the Bible says that God is like a father, you can understand it means that God is like a perfect father. You know I’m not perfect. But I’m going to keep on trying. And I want you to know that I know I’ve got a long way to go.” – Christianity Today

I hope your Father’s Day two weeks ago was as much a blessing to you as mine was to me. And I also hope your father is, or was, as much a blessing to you as mine was to me.

Fatherly Influence

Father - DaughterAs most are aware, last Sunday was Father’s Day. In our home, that calls for a celebration including a very nice home cooked meal. Usually I cook the meat on the grill outside and Terry does everything else inside. All family members who can come fill our dining room table.

Much of the time we laugh a lot. We also talk about subjects of current interest. Sometimes I’ll ask folks at the table to relate any memories about their father (in the case of our kids that’s me) they feel like sharing. Those stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad and sometimes serious.

Often I’ll talk about my father, Martin Herbert Otto Kieschnick, recalling quotes and pithy sayings for which he was fairly famous. A few examples:

  • On gaining painless experience: I’d like to learn how to shave on someone else’s beard.
  • On an egotistical person: I’d like to buy that man for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth.
  • On the importance of personal values when hiring an employee: You won’t end up with good BBQ if you don’t start with a good piece of meat.
  • On Christian giving: You can’t out-give the Lord. He has a bigger shovel than you do.
  • On marital faithfulness: One woman is enough for a real man.

While not every person has fond memories of his or her father, mine are almost all very positive. My dear 99-year-old mother, Elda Mary Sofa Hellman Kieschnick, would agree that her husband was not without original sin. She would also agree that the good in the man she married far outweighed the very little bad. My three sisters and all four of our spouses would concur.

So every day, not just Father’s Day, I thank God for my father, the man I called “Dad.” His influence has made a difference in my life, the full extent of which I may never know. I pray the same is true of the influence of my life on our children, grandchildren and, someday, great grandchildren. All of them, including my dear wife Terry, are precious gifts of God in my life!