Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall
June 21, 2015
Americans have taken to their hearts the Commandment that we "Honor thy Father and Mother." We have just celebrated Mother's Day a few Sundays ago and now, a little over a month later we honor Fathers... those present, those deceased, and those yet to be.
When Moses went up onto Mount Sinai to receive one of God’s most precious gifts to the human race – the Ten Commandments – why did the words "Mother" and "Father" appear on that stone engraved by the Hand of our Creator? Why not the words "brother" and "sister" or "family"? Why not just a general reference to those who have come before us... "Honor thy ancestors."
If we spend a bit of time thinking of the significance of this Commandment, it becomes clear that the reference to mother and father has less to do with honoring our bloodline and more to do with honoring those who give us life. And who gave all of us life? In the physical world our parents give us life. In the world of the Holy Spirit, Our Father in Heaven is the life-giver.
Don't misunderstand me... I’m not saying God isn’t responsible for our physical life. Were it not for Adam and Eve, none of us would be here! All of the DNA potential that has populated the world for thousands of years was created in paradise – in Eden. He has known from the beginning what different combinations of DNA and RNA would become... what kind of people this combination with that combination of DNA would create. Maybe that answers how He knows each one of us personally even in a world populated by billion of human beings.
Jesus gave us a great gift when He gave us the Lord’s prayer... and how does it begin? "Our Father..."
When we say the Lord’s Prayer we need to stop and think of the meaning of the words we use. God is the Creator of the world, the universe, and all life forms that inhabit it. When we say the words "Our Father," what are we saying? Does "our" mean Christians only? Is He "Father" only to those who believe in Jesus Christ? Or, does "Father" include both Christians and Jews? Does it mean all human life? He either created all of us or He created none of us. Does “our” reference the various entities housed within our own body: our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual selves?
When we say the words "Our Father," to whom are we speaking? I don’t know about you, but though I honor my earthly father, I do not pray to him... I begged for Dad’s mercy a few times when I was young and misbehaved, but when I SAY "Our Father," I speak to God.
What words are synonymous with "father?" In looking at Roget’s Thesaurus I find father is defined as a provider, a protector, a teacher, a supporter – and, yes, a disciplinarian. We know it's more than that – being a father involves love (an active concern for the well being of another). Who would commit to the responsibilities of fatherhood without great love as the primary motivator? The answer to that question probably defines the difference between a father and a sperm donor.
As our earthly fathers are given responsibility to provide for us, protect us, teach us. help us build character, support us emotionally and discipline us when we break the rules, so too does our Spiritual Father. Our worldly fathers give up part of their personal lives to make sure their children's feet are firmly placed on the right path. They work so their children can be educated, clothed, go to doctors and dentists and have a roof over their heads and food in their mouths. By example (and discipline), Fathers teach their children how to develop character that will have either a positive or negative impact on society.
Our Spiritual Father gave up His only begotten Son because He loves his earthly children. He sent Jesus to us as our spiritual connection to Him and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within His followers to ensure that connection would never be broken.
The problem in today’s world is that too often fathers are not in the home. Some fathers -- sperm donors -- desert their children, leaving mothers to do the entire job of parenting. They don't send the support the divorce court required. Sometimes it is mothers who desert. Too often, females view giving birth to a child as a way to gain personal fulfillment. Such a view is immature in the extreme. Giving life to a baby is not about the Mother’s fulfillment; it is about the baby’s future life and fulfillment. Though motherhood is fulfilling, it is the primary reason only of the very selfish for giving birth.
I have seen a Mother with sole support responsibilities for two children. She did all she could to help authorities find the Father because she had no college education and did not earn a good salary. She needed the support money – she’d only asked for $50 per month per child. Times were hard for her.
Her home was cleaned from top to bottom every Saturday and her grocery shopping, cooking for the week and laundry was done on Sundays. She took time to take her son and daughter on breakfast picnics by a mountain stream, cooking over a camp fire. They camped overnight, too. She taught them to swim and ice skate. She didn't ski, but made sure they learned. She never missed a teacher conference and if one of her kids was doing something in school – a play or field day – she was there. She praised the children and disciplined them. She did without to make sure they had braces on their teeth. She began taking college classes, too.
And it wasn’t enough.
All during the time this woman was working long hours, providing a home and keeping it clean, cooking meals and caring for the children, her former husband was secretly calling the children, telling them they couldn't tell their Mother about his calls because if they did she would call the Sheriff in the state where he was hiding and have him arrested. He called after they got home from school, before their Mother was home from work.
The example he set for them said "It's okay to lie." The Mother's message was quite the opposite. When the children became adults, they blamed the Mother for not spending more time with them when they were small... they didn't seem to understand that had the Father (who showed up every three years or so to charm them over dinner) not skipped out on his obligations, the Mother would have had her workload substantially reduced and would have been able to spend more time with them. She would have been able to afford better clothes for them, a movie night every now and then, etc.
The fact is, children need both a Mother and a Father. They need to understand both male and female traits. This takes us back to the Commandment that we honor our father and mother. It has to do with polarity. The world was created on the concept of polarity. I don’t care what entity you call "God," or whether you even believe in a Supreme Being. Relative to this issue, it doesn't matter. It is an obvious fact that the world functions on the concept of polarity. In the physical (rather than spiritual world which is a polar opposite to the physical), good cannot exist without evil; hot must have cold; joy must have sadness. Love must have its opposite, hate, to exist. There is an Alpha and an Omega... a beginning and an end. Success and failure. Up must have down. Male must have female – and children need the polarity of a Mother and a Father. It is the way the world functions.
About one-third of children live without their biological father in the home. Here is the price we pay as a society and the huge physical, psychological and emotional price these kids pay for lack of a father:
• According to the U.S. Department of Health and the Census Bureau, 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (five times the average);
• 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• According to the Center for Disease Control, 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20 times the national average.
• Read Justice and Behavior, Volume 15, pages 403-426 and you will find that 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times greater than the norm.
• 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
• 70 percent of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
• 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton County, Georgia; Texas Department. of Corrections)
• 90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
• Boys who grow up without a father in the home are more likely to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
• Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 711 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, 164 percent more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92 percent more likely to get divorced themselves.
• According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.
• If a young male is raised without a father the likelihood that he will take part in criminal activity doubles by comparison to young males with fathers in the home or a father who remains actively involved in his son’s life.
As we watch the Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD scenarios occur -- and there will be more -- we should keep these statistics in mind.
These are just a few of hundreds of statistics. When you say "Happy Father’s Day" to your Dad, take a moment to think how he impacted your life. God made him your foster (or earthly) father and placed you in his hands. If your young son is wishing you a happy Father’s Day, honor your own father by being for your son what he needs to become a happy, well-adjusted adult (whether your father was there for you, or not – and THAT is evidence of a real male who is a fabulous father).
Our Creator made polarity the basis of how this world works. When you think through His possible reasons for doing it that way you realize it is the only way He could give us choice – to believe or not, to love or hate, to do good or evil.
It is clear why He wants us to Honor our Father and Mother.
� 2015 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, was U.S. Consulting Editor for Private Banker International (London/Dublin), and other major banking industry publications. She has written seven non-fiction books about banking and taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and two works of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.
Barnewall is the former editor of The National Peace Officer Magazine and as a journalist has written guest editorials for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Newsweek, among others. On the Internet, she has written for News With Views, World Net Daily, Canada Free Press, Christian Business Daily, Business Reform, and others. She has been quoted in Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She can be found in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Finance and Business, and Who's Who in the World.
Web site: http://marilynwrites.blogspot.com