“You can curse a child by destroying their dreams.” – Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, U.S. Army
Boykin, a retired Army general, spoke this past Sunday at my church about the importance of blessing our children. This is one of the teachings from the Bible that has largely been lost in modern society, including the Church. Boykin pointed to the Hebrew Scriptures that include many stories about the importance of a blessing. This includes blessings from God, leaders (Moses, Aaron, King David) and fathers (Issac and Jacob). The most well known story about a father’s blessing involves Jacob and Esau. Jacob, the younger brother, tricked the father to receive the blessing. While we should not deceive others to get what we want, this story demonstrates the importance of a father’s blessing in ancient culture.
Unfortunately, fatherhood has become a comical caricature today. It brings to mind images of Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, Tony Soprano, or Pete Griffin of Family Guy. Fathers in TV are depicted as bumbling idiots who would be in trouble if it weren’t for his wife, kids and the dog. Or dads are workaholics who don’t spend time with their kids. Many of these exaggerations are unfair. But they do highlight a major problem in America today.
I believe that involved, loving father’s are the critical piece that are missing in many families. It isn’t that these men wake up one day and decide to sabbotage their familiies. They may never have known this kind of love and leadership themselves. Also, these men may not realize how critical their role is. That is why I like want General Boykin had to say. The involvement of a loving father can make a huge difference in the success of a family. Stories over the last few days about Tim Russert and his son are a perfect example of my point.
I am thankful to have a great father as well as a number of great men who have been mentors in my life. Consider listening to this teaching that covers ways you can grow as a father and bless your kids.