Recently, President Obama said so eloquently that more men need to be taught that fatherhood does not stop with conception. Today I am reminded of the 29-year-old male who was recently in court for "fathering" 21 children by 11 different women. I was of course saddened for the children involved. After all they are the ones who will be cheated of what it means to have a real dad in their lives. But cheating children of God's best for them seems to be the trend in too many instances these days. It's said that the sins of the father affect the children for four generations removed. This is a perfect example of that Scripture. My sorrow was only compounded on learning that he had a job that barely paid enough to care for himself, and a court system that let him off the hook by paying some insulting amount in child support. I shake my head as I write this; as I am overwhelmed with an inability to even begin comprehending who failed the most in this scenario. He obviously failed to properly wear a condom. The females obviously failed to properly use birth control. The law obviously failed to have statutes in place that would require him to either get a mandatory vasectomy or serve ten years for every child he failed to pay full support for. The list could go on and get more personal; but, I think the point is made. Someone failed to nip this obvious problem in the bud long before it reached the number of offspring created. I know there are free-spirited people who gasp at the thought of delaying the pro-creation process. I know there are people who can't believe that I'd suggest no money; no children. But yes, that's what I believe. If laws were designed that would require proof of (familial) affordability for a child or mandatory adoption being the repercussion for irresponsible pregnancies people would stop being so careless with such a serious responsibility. I know there are some who will say this belief borders on Communism. No, I beg to differ. It borders on people being responsible for their actions. It borders on people not continuing that ugly and vicious cycle that the government pays for their children and everything required to care for them. I know. Everything is a bit of an exaggeration; but, I'm merely trying to make a point on the weekend eve that celebrates the making of a child. In closing, our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, considered at some point in his career starting a school strictly for homosexual males. I couldn't believe how far off the mark he would have been to publicly fund something of that large a bias. In the real world, being gay is no different than being overly fat, or any other distinguishing feature that one may be ridiculed for. If he opened a school just for gays, before long he'd have to open a school just for the obese; or just the shy. No, I totally disagree with him wanting to start schools just for gays; but I do believe that he should SERIOUSLY consider opening schools across the nation that cater specifically to turning heterosexual males into MEN. These schools should be run by healthy-minded, non-predatory men, who are the epitome of what society would define manhood as. Their entire curriculum starting in Pre-K should be centered from a perspective of proper etiquette necessary for transitioning from boyhood to manhood. Too many young boys are waking up at that awkward age of adolescence without a clue of what manhood is truly defined as. I can only wonder if knowledge would have translated into wisdom in the life of the male with the 21 children, 11 women, and less than three decades of life.
In a few short days, many men across America, and even the world, will be honored for their planting a seed into fertile ground that brought forth new life. No matter what kind of job you think these men are doing as parents, a holiday has been set aside to recognize the command of a Higher Authority: Honor thy father and mother. I couldn't help but notice during the weeks leading up to this day, that more discussions were heard with a bend towards wayward fathers. I was saddened that more men were being recognized for not doing their part to be in their children's lives, than for those brave warriors who stand in battle the entire 18 years and longer, to make sure their children are provided and cared for. America is going through a topsy turvy type of turmoil today, as adults are trying to redefine what constitutes a family. Two men can show up in a classroom, as well as two women, and call themselves the parents of a child. But this is about Father's Day; not Parent's Day. I will do all I can to not put a negative spin on such an important life celebration that has far too many "Baby Daddy's" wearing this title. It would be too easy to blame the males carrying this title; except, the owness belongs to females who in the majority of cases, allow these seeds to be planted in the first place. There was a time when the only birth control was rhythmically based. Although some people swear by this method, and that's good, I can only shake my head at attempting to master something so potentially life-altering. Aside from the pill, there's the patch and a host of other means for not getting pregnant. Even developing a montra, "No condom, No Sex" would be better than just letting ten seconds of doing something, turn into a lifetime of woe figuring out how to financially provide for a child. I love children as much as the next person, but they are very expensive. But, I digress, for this is about Father's Day; and a more pressing concern, which is that too many children are fatherless by way of absentee, off-the-radar papas. Too many men are virtual-parenting. Some are living across country from their children, some from a prison cell sending pre-made cards, only to be released from the penetentiary, totally denying the responsibility that parenthood requires. I realize that prison life can change a man for life; but, the sad news is that these same men will re-enter society and make more children, with more women, making more baby daddy's and even worse, more baby mama's. It's a spiraling trap, that always leans toward the weakening fiber of the intact family. But, oh yes, this is about Father's Day; not Beat-up-on-papa Day. Sadly, I don't think a man can really afford to be a dad to only the children he brings into the world. I think he has to wear the title for children who don't have a father figure in the home. But all that aside, the truth is society has always been short of father figures on some level. But as I think back, the moral deterioration of society didn't really start with the absentee father. They've always existed for one reason or another. Society and the morality issue in America didn't really begin to surface until someone allowed prayer to be removed from the public school system of this great nation of ours. And all the children, seemingly mostly males, no longer had the strong sense of the truest form of Fatherhood to reflect and rely on. They no longer had that morning prayer engrained in their being that helped raise a level of consciousness within themselves throughout the day. And soon, in the gloomy experience of the absent father, they began to adopt illicit rap stars as the figure head they looked up to. And before long they were old enough to look eye-to-eye with them and fully emmulate their manner of style in dress and behavior. There are a lot of "stars" on television. And I'm always saddened when I see a man, who is definitively married, fail to acknowledge his role as a husband, WITH children, by not wearing the traditional band on the third finger, left hand. Yes, in a few short days, millions will celebrate Father's Day. Perhaps in this day of redefining family on so many levels, perhaps we should consider having a Baby Momma Day and of course a Baby Daddy Day. Let's face it in truth; there is a distinguishing profile that goes with honoring a man who has signed up for the long haul by being a spouse first and a parent to one treasure of children; as opposed to men who walk around like seed bearers without the responsibility of watering and nurturing his implantations. So, to real fathers everywhere, my own included, who despite your imperfections, did, and are doing, your very best to raise God-fearing, morally sound children, kudos, and have the happiest of days.
I'm convinced that God has a Divine since of humor. After taking nearly an hour to carefully read the fine print for my student-loan app for grad school, cautiously mindful that the borrower is slave to the lender; I hit the submit button, and returned to my homepage only to see this heart-warming story. Christian saints (sinners saved by grace) argue that playing the lottery is gambling; while yet, many frequently jet off to Vegas quietly, only to drop far more into the slot machines than this youngster did for his lottery ticket. I am certain that Father God on occasion cups His Mighty Hands, and opens them over one of his favored saints by dropping an abundance of wealth into one's bank account. Keep in mind that all who love and reverence Him are favored. I'm sure God chuckled as this guy's knees weakened to the point of buckling when he learned of His blessing; and, as people like me were blessed with the unexpected gift of an ear-to-ear smile on observing God's promised display of His life-changing awesomeness! Just imagine. This will be one mega-sized tithe and offering. If this winner believes in the God-Promise set forth in Malachi, nearly 9 million dollars of these winnings will go towards helping the furtherance of God's Kingdom in a multitude of ways. It's a good thing this youngster lives on a ranch; because he's going to need a lot of quiet sky while praying for guidance on how to expend this fortune. Some people occasionally put a dollar on the counter for a lottery ticket which is said to be used towards helping schools buy textbooks and other beneficial things. Others put a dollar on the counter for things far worse than a simple chance at instant wealth. To whom much is given; much is required. If God gifts one of His own with something so staggeringly magnanimous He has a plan for it. Even though I haven't bought a lottery ticket in years, days like this make me ponder trading a few moments of instant gratification that a fattening candy bar might bring, for an opportunity at God surprising me with a single dollar multiplied millions of times over. All praises to Father God for putting an upturn on a rather mundane day.
I recently watched "Memoirs of a Geisha." It ended with a line about happiness that made me really think how true to life the words really are. So many people desperately seek to live happy lives. But I really don't believe that is man's primary purpose on earth. I believe that God has placed us earthlings here in this oxygen-required realm, to do something specifically for His Divine Purpose. It is when we discern what that purpose is that our bliss begins to shine forth. Too often, people work for decades in painfully unfulfilling jobs, just to pay the bills; while they have mental dreams of what they'd do if they didn't have to work. It is that very thought that they should spend every free moment cultivating. Perhaps a person dreams of writing a book; or preaching a sermon, or building a house. It's the inner ember that one should fan into a flame for something that will become a passion with life-giving force. I often tell young people caught in the devil's den of boredom, that there is very little likelihood that life will originate from staring at a Facebook page for hours and hours. Instead of this wasted use of precious time, they should take up a craft, or a trade, or a musical instrument. By the way, to quote the character in the movie, he said, "We must not expect happiness... It is not something we deserve. When life goes well, it is a sudden gift; it cannot last forever." I went so far as to Google how many times the Bible actually uses the word happiness. The answer was a mere six times. Four of them were found in the Old Testament. Somehow I believe what this actor said is true. Happiness is a gift that should come with the knowledge that it really can't stay forever unchanged in the form that it arrives. A constant state of happiness would cause us to forget that we live in a fallen world with many promises of sorrow; whether directly or indirectly related to our own life. I can think of stars over the years, who seemingly had it all; but, ultimately did everything they could, sometimes to the point of total destruction, to attain that fleeting gift of happiness. Tabloid news at the checkout counter soon made it crystal clear that money does not guarantee happiness any more than a degree guarantees success. This movie caused me to reflect on the times in life I considered myself to be the most "happy." And I surmised that it was those times when I was doing the very things I am innately wired to do. And so, on behalf of everyone in this great big world, who are doing everything they can to be happy, my advice is to stop trying. And instead just wait for the gift to come to you. It will. And when it does, savor it for all the joy it brings, knowing that it is like a butterfly that rarely stays in one place for very long. In the Bible, God lists seven fruits of the Spirit. Interestingly enough, happiness isn't listed among them. Peace and Joy are as close to being a synonym of being happy; but, the beauty of these two states of being are found even when happiness is absent. So at the end of the day, Wisdom teaches that we should seek to have peace and to find joy; even in the most mundane of circumstances. And we should always remember that happiness always comes for far too brief a time, before something takes it to another place, to another presence. So don't worry; be happy, is a montra that has nothing to do with one's circumstances. Find your niche. Do what you love. Find solace in all things whether you're currently on the mountain top or descending from its heights; knowing in peaceful bliss that there is no place on this planet that God is not.