Greetings from Naval Air Station Jacksonville:
The idea of fatherhood has fallen on rough times for the last 50 years. We have gone from TV shows like "Father Knows Best" to "The Simpsons." One bright spot in today's entertainment world concerning fathers is the show "Blue Bloods" starring Tom Selleck. Though if fatherhood has taken its lumps, men have been the ones who have caused much of the decline.
Too many men have desired the honor and respect of being a father but have passed on the responsibilities that accompany the vocation. Too many have desired to keep the lifestyle they had in high school and college but expect to be seen as full-fledged grown-ups.
Being a father means you are not a brother or a best friend to your children, you're a dad. Your kids are looking to you for something greater. They may know more about Xbox or what is cool as a 7th grader, but you are there to let them know the stove is hot, so don't touch it, which is the gas pedal and which is the brake and when to use them. You are to be the one they learn about the "birds and bees" from (though there will be plenty of ways for them to discover skewed facts about sex: internet, HBO, etc.). You are the one to teach them that sex is a wonderful gift from God and is not to be used because you finally feel you're ready but in a marriage blessed by God.
Being a father is showing your children how to manage a loving and respectful relationship with your spouse. I have seen too many husbands curse and swear at their wives. They ridiculed them in front of the children and others. They have treated them not as the most precious gift they could have received from God but as a personal slave. Of course there will be times you disagree on things but resorting to be crude, insulting, and demeaning is not how to deal with one's wife. A father's leadership is to reflect Christ who sacrificed himself for his bride. Fathers protect, nurture and do all in their power to make the next day a better one than the last. You will always be the strongest influence for good or evil on your children.
Does a father have playtime with his kids? Yes! From Xbox, going to movies, games, and hunting. Play builds relationships, teaches and it's fun.
As a father you also need to let them see Jesus in you. In your love, forgiveness, and care not just for them but others around you. Let them understand from you a life of prayer and praise to your heavenly Father. Let them know reading the Bible is not weird but a way to hear the heavenly Father's voice. If you act like the father on "The Simpsons" expect to receive that type of respect. Be the man of God, be there for your kids. Happy Father's Day.
• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.