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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Best Role in Life

The best and most fulfilling role in life, for a guy, is being a father. I find it puzzling that so few want to take on the role, whether they have children in marriage or outside of marriage. We have not come to grips as a nation with people being mothers and fathers, regardless of how they respond to that blessing. If they run away from the baby or end the child's life, they are still mother and father.

I volunteered in a pro-life center for five years. I recall one supposed father coming in to witness the pregnancy test. He was the husband, hoping for a child. The rest of the time, the girls came in alone.

Nobody expects much from a father today, so anything done is good. Men are seldom spiritual leaders in their homes, so they are miracles if they are.

Men are often too busy for their children. "Quality time" is a bogus concept peddled by guilty parents. The volume of time is the quality. A fishing trip between stays at the reform military academy will not make up for years of neglect.

In grade school and in church, I remember male teachers walking into a noisy room and settling it down with a scowl and a word. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It also rocks absolutely.

Everyone expects moms to be loving and sacrificial, eager to take their children to church or teach them catechism. If the dad does a little of the same, he is a big hero. Men have to chance to be heroes to their sons and daughters, role models, fonts of wisdom.

I believe there is quite a lot of determinism in life. We are born with certain traits, like them or not. Musicians have children with wonderful fine muscle control or great voices, often both. They are often math whizzes as a bonus. No matter how much I might want to be a musician, I lack the talent. Looking at my parents, who were not instrumentalists or singers, that is no surprise.

A number of my relatives are gifted in math, love calculus and find it easy. That gene never stopped long enough to visit me. I inherited certain traits from my parents, but also certain attitudes. Becoming adults in the Great Depression, they assumed a graduate education for each one of us. Four kids earned twelve degrees and three designations (two CPAs, one CLU).

I did go off the charts in verbal skills (inborn - no work involved) but also in the enjoyment of writing. Few like to write, and even fewer love to write. I found it relatively easy, though still hard work, and also rewarding in many ways. My parents were avid readers, voracious readers, and my mother wrote in newspapers, producing books on phonetic spelling too.

What I did long ago as a father has had a great impact, and that was make an investment of time, which I enjoyed more than anything else in this poor life of labor. I spent a lot of time with our son, and I read to him long past the age where it was needed. We read a lot of great literature together, including Tolkien. Two granddaughters have middle names of Tinuviel and Eowyn. We have running jokes based on things we read together and did together: military equipment, dinosaurs and rocks, museums and movies.

When I hear about enormous projects involving mainframes, I remember helping to wire that first Atari game computer. I can brag that I got him into computers, and he can say the same thing about me, when he urged me to get trained. So I did.

Recently, he wrote, "You taught me never to turn down free training." We used to shake our heads about people who were satisfied with doing exactly what was required and never learning anything new. He is many levels above them now.

We had the best time consuming some Dairy Queen on Saturday. His family told me about one of their many rescue cats finding a bunny and eating most of it, with some parts left in the kitchen. They were not sure which cat ate the rabbit until one became heaving in the kitchen. I said, "That brings new meaning to the song - Here comes Peter Cottontail - brek."

We had a big laugh.