As I watched the movie with my children, there were the usual suspects: a cute little girl, a dog and a father who didn’t know he had a daughter but was about to get his chance at redemption. Throw in some Elvis Presley tunes and competitive professional sports for dramatic effect, and you’ve got one of those feel-good movies that tugs at your heartstrings while tickling your funny bone.
Throughout the movie, the main character kept saying, “the power of the father.” What started out as a phrase to help him stay focused in his newly discovered role became something more: the belief that a father has the power to give his children something that no one else can. And while this film was no Old Yeller or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it did manage to successfully ask, “Do children really need a father?” Even in the midst of Hollywood dips and turns, the answer was clear: Yes, there really is a power that only a father brings to his children.
Any time I see a film that even remotely acknowledges such a truth, I’m thankful. Much of our media do not believe a father to be necessarily beneficial, and those that include dads in a script often portray him as an absolute idiot. It’s sad, really. Actually, it’s a disgrace.
The pattern established in the beginning was this:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Gen 2:24)
A man would leave his father and mother and take a wife. They would be fruitful and multiply. The children would benefit from both parents, as each one would bring different and necessary facets to the child’s life. This was the pattern, the divine design.
I realize the phrase power of the father might stir up less-than-desirable reactions from some. Power is a word that can be used for good or evil. But just because some have and will abuse the reality behind the word, there’s no need to write it off. God’s Word clearly indicates that men — fathers — bring power to the parenting relationship. The woman brings life; the father brings strength. There will be days when a mother brings strength to things and there will be days when a man brings life. But the abiding pattern, the divine design, gives power to the father. The question, as always, is, “How will the power be used?”
I hope this series will cause you to stop and ponder a little — or maybe a lot. A father’s presence means something to a child. The permission a father gives differs from that a mother offers. It’s not necessarily nice to point, but a father had better set nice aside from time to time and point out a few things along the way. If he doesn’t, then who will?
As a father, you may read these articles and think, My father never did those things for or with me! As a result, these words may bring pain to the surface. Please remember that if we don’t seek to transform our pain, we’ll just transfer it to others — often our sons and daughters.
The love of our heavenly Father can redeem any pain and transform it into something strong, solid and powerful. Fathers, we all get a second chance — maybe many chances — at redemption. There may not be canned laughter or the dramatic lighting of a Hollywood movie, but a redeemed father’s power might just make the difference in a little girl or boy’s life.