Dear Shepherdess: This month as we salute Dad, the father of our children, I would like to share a potpourri of selections I have gleaned from the Shepherdess newsletters I receive from various conferences.
From the Garden State (New Jersey) Shepherdess letter comes a delightful piece called, "From Tall Frame to Tears—Father Meets the Challenge." Next, Erma Jane Cook writes in the Michigan Shepherdess News, "How Important Are Fathers?" And Dorothy Brotherton's "Of My Father," comes from the Washington Conference Shepherdess Newsnotes. / know you will enjoy each one as much as I did.
How grateful we can be to stand by the side of the men who are husbands, fathers, and ministers of God, whether we do so as wives or co-workers! What a privilege we have to bring serenity to the home or office!
As we honor fathers in June, may we each know the joy and peace that comes from togetherness in our homes. With love, Kay.
Father meets the challenge
When the good Lord was creating Fathers, He started with a tall frame.
And a female angel nearby said, "What kind of Father is that? If you're going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Fathers up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping."
And God smiled and said, "Yes, but if I make him child-sized, who would children have to look up to?"
And when God made a Father's hands, they were large and sinewy.
And the angel shook her head sadly and said, "Do you know what You're doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can't manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands, or ponytails, or even re move splinters caused by baseball bats."
And God smiled and said, "I know, but they're large enough to hold every thing a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day and yet small enough to cup a child's face in his hands."
Then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders.
And the angel nearly had a heart at tack. "Boy, this is the end of the week, all right," she clucked. "Do You realize You just made a Father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the child falling between his legs?"
And God smiled and said, "A Mother needs a lap. A Father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, or hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus."
God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone ever had seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. "That's not fair. Do You honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?"
And God smiled and said, "They'll work. You'll see. They'll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury cross, or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill."
God worked throughout the night, giving the father few words, but a firm, authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant.
Finally, almost as an afterthought, He added—tears. Then He turned to the angel and said, "Now are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?" And the angel was silent.
How important are fathers?
by Erma Jane Cook
The view from my kitchen window includes several neighborhood back yards. While washing supper dishes the other evening I watched a father, complete with baseball cap and mitt, pitching a ball to his 8-year-old. The bat seemed almost too unwieldy for the youngster to manage, but Dad was infinitely patient. He threw the balls just right so that the child was able to hit more balls than he missed.
How important are fathers? So important that a child's ability to grow into an emotionally well-balanced human being depends greatly on the relationship he has with his dad from the time of his birth. During the earliest years of life, the strong but tender touch of a father's hands are contributing to the baby's sense of well-being. As the child crawls and toddles and becomes more active, the time spent in play builds a bond of love and friendship between father and child that will support him all his life, especially through the difficult adolescent years.
Who needs fathers? All children need fathers, especially a boy just starting to school. He needs to be able to brag about what he and his dad do together, and how strong his dad is, and what kind of a job his dad has. A little girl needs a father to listen to her tell something that happened at school, or even to sympathize with her over a disappointment, preferably while sitting on his lap.
When dads stop whatever they are doing and listen intently to their children, no matter what their ages, those children feel like somebody important. To look into a child's eyes, past the exterior into his very soul, is an expression of caring and love. It is the essence of peoplemaking.
Also, a father who expresses love to the mother of his children by touching, talking, listening beyond words, by responding with understanding, will experience her affection and sense of self-worth spilling back into his own life in ways loving and uncounted. So everyone feels important.
Of my Father
by Dorothy Brotherton
Let me tell you about my Father. He's a person everybody loves once they get to know Him.
Years ago He worked as a structural engineer. I can't help feeling proud of Him. He designed and constructed some tremendous things (Mount Everest, several oceans, and I don't know how many galaxies) all from the rawest of materials—nothing!
He's not building anymore. Now He mostly does maintenance work.
Actually, He's more involved in the business world. He's a financial wizard, and involved in a fantastic investment. He's put down the full purchase price for the entire company of mankind! (Some of the shareholders, however, are hanging back.)
But let me give you a little personal sketch of my Father. He's a person of few words, but they're worth listening to. He's loving, understanding, and has a sense of humor. (Does He ever! When He was in engineering, He dreamed up a thing called a monkey—ever see one!) He's honest, keeps His word, disciplines fairly, and talk about being a companion to His children! He's never too busy, never unavailable, never tired or irritable. The companionship I've shared with my Father—well, it's hard to talk about. Generous? I've got His word that He'll supply all my need. Can you beat that?
You may have guessed it. My Father is a VIP. In fact, He's the King of kings. And, you're right, He's not my natural father. I'm just a commoner, but He let me into His family anyway. And there's nothing that thrills me more than this relationship. God and I Father and child. Do you know what it's like to have God for your Father?
Prayers from the parsonage
Watching the buses lumber to a stop in front of the high school across the street, I think about the job I could have gotten there. Do my 4-year-old Lisa and 7-month-old Hans really need me at home?
I'd earn $20,000 a year teaching in my major field. Summer vacation and school holidays would give me lots of time with the children. Besides, I'd be home each day by 4:00 P.M.
For only $55 a week a Christian friend would baby-sit both children eight hours a day, including a hot noon meal. Lisa is always wanting to play with other children, anyway. Would it really make a Ministry, June/1979 difference to the baby if someone else changed his dirty diapers and washed squash off his face?
A baby-sitter could tie shoelaces, pour juice, and retrieve toys as well as I. She could keep Hans from eating paper and Lisa from climbing on furniture. She could be the one wiping spit-up milk off her shoulder and taking swipes at a runny nose.
Lord, sometimes I think I'm burying my talents, wasting my education and making a financial blunder by choosing to stay home with these little ones.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deut. 6:6, 7).
I am still teaching. My job has seemingly impossible standards; its prestige fluctuates, but it is my most important work while the children are young.
Oh, Lord! Please give me physical strength when the days are long and the nights short. As I keep at the routine, repetitive tasks, make me aware of countless opportunities for guiding this girl and boy into beauty and truth. Grant me special wisdom, I pray, to train my children for the kingdom of heaven, for I want no failing students in my home school.