Unforgettable in every way
(And forever more) and forever more
(That’s how you’ll stay) that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why darling it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too (Irving Gordon).
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world!
Imagine a dad receiving a call that goes something like this, “Hello Daddy… How are you? This is your favourite girlfriend calling.” With much joy he exclaims, “Keisha! How are you? Long time since I have heard anything from you. But, I was on your website the other day and…”
Well, this past week, I had several such responses from my friends’ dads as I slowed down my schedule to make some visits. These gentlemen have always been eager to share their loves with me of music, food, scripture, books, and more. Much more than that, they enjoy talking with me and “raising me up.” Even more in the last few years since my father, Alfred E. Mitchell, Snr. passed away. They have always been keen to find out what I am currently working on and offer advice. Sometimes the conversation starts with: “This is how you survive…” or “No, but you can’t have that…”
So, as we celebrate Father’s Day today, I want to celebrate my dad, and all the surrogate fathers that I have had in the world. Precious insight into the lives of men through heartfelt conversations over the years have revealed that the world is a really rough place for these men bearing responsibility.
May I offer you the story of Joseph as a picture of the promise, the pain, and the posterity of fatherhood? In Genesis 37, Joseph is a 17 year old boy dreaming of power, power that eludes him in his father’s house. When he shares the dream with his 10 older siblings and his father, he is ridiculed even more than before when he simply wore a special coat given to him by his father.
Sold into slavery for his courage to dream, Joseph has to make a life fixed firmly on the only thing that he was allowed to take with him – his faith in God. Through suffering, promotion, betrayal, false accusation, and imprisonment, Joseph survives and keeps rising like cream to the top. Finally, he is brought before the King because of his reputation (Genesis 45).
The King is impressed with Joseph’s ability and his foresight and rewards him with everything that he needs, including a wife, a house, and chariots. Joseph’s healing however comes, only after he holds his firstborn in his arms; naming him “Manasseh” because he has forgotten the pain of his father’s house. When his second son is born, he names him “Ephraim,” because he was doubly blessed as he considered twice the joy since the birth of his firstborn.
Fathers are passing on their legacy every day if we care to listen. Do you remember the poignant scene between Will Smith and his son in the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,”as they are playing basketball? At first, his lack of athletic prowess caused him to limit his son’s success. Then, realizing what he did, he stoops to his son’s level and tells him never to be limited by what he has accomplished.
Dads, you inspire hope in us when you carry us on your backs!
So, whatever your story is today, it is not the end. Your wisdom is needed by a thirsty generation coming up behind you. Help us to keep running the race like the young ones in the Father’s Day 5K run below.
The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 127 that, “Children are a gift from the Lord; … a real blessing… Happy is the man who has many such” (Ps. 127:3-5, GNT). Today, when challenges face every family all across the globe, we honour the fathers who still dare to dream for their children. We honour those who are brave enough to be disciplined and to believe that if they work hard that they will reap the rewards of their efforts.
Form all of your kids, “Thanks for standing up! Thanks for leading the way! Thanks for life!”
We promise to take the best of you and transform our world!
And we seal it with the words of a beloved hymn,
“Faith of our fathers! We will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly words and virtuous life:
Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death (Frederick William Faber, 1814-63).
Check out possible gifts for Dad this month at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD. A new book For a Teacher’s Heart was released just this week. If your Dad taught you great lessons, maybe this is a gift that he would enjoy. If not, there are other insights available for him into the minds of his sons and daughters.