Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15, NIV
Lord our God, we come into your presence and bow down before you, the Almighty. We come before you and repent, believing in you and in your will to save us. Your will to save goes out over the whole world, over the whole godless world, that all may repent and be redeemed. Grant us the thoughts of your heart so that we may begin to understand your will. We dedicate ourselves to you, the holy, just, righteous, and merciful God. Grant that we may be your children, led and guided by you every day. Turn our hearts to you so that you can make us more and more as you want us to be. Turn our hearts to you until your goal of atonement and redemption is reached through the quiet working of your almighty power. Amen.
I walked around a corner in order to see the event in full and sure enough, it was a “good ol’ boy” American father doing the throwing, with baby loving every bit of it. Not by coincidence, mom was nowhere in sight.
On a recent trip to Asia, I turned on Chinese television, not able to understand a word. But I did understand what I saw in a commercial, and I saw the same thing happening in parks as I walked to my meetings. Fathers and grandpas were throwing their little ones into the air, to the children’s immense delight and happiness (assuming that giggles have the same meaning across cultures). Apparently, this startling dad behavior is universal.
Consider this from the perspective of the baby, for whom the challenge of trying to figure out this interesting world is a full-time job. Every baby who has ever taken flight in such a way learned an essential life lesson. I call it the “scary world–safe world” experience.
When a baby – boy or girl – is thrown into the air the first few times, what does he or she do? You know, because you’ve seen it yourself, and in fact likely experienced it yourself way back when. The children gasp and hold their breath, eyes wide as quarters. With my children, I’ve often caused and seen that look of sheer terror.
First lesson learned? The child is realizing that the world is a scary place. (This is not a lesson he or she is likely to learn from mom, because moms are not into scaring their children; usually they are the comforters.) But just as quickly as the child feels that fear coming, gravity kicks in and he or she always comes back down, safely into the strong hands of dad.
Second lesson learned? The child learns the world can be a safe place in dad’s hands. He or she experiences two very raw and deeply instructive human emotions. At one point, the child’s whole being screams out, “Holy cannoli, this world is a dang scary place and I can’t seem to trust anyone to take care of me!” Then, a split second later, the child feels, “Oh…good, now the world is safe and dad is there for me.”
Good fathers challenge their children to take risks while keeping them safe.
As babies, most of us have gone from being scared poop-less to giggling hysterically and begging for more. And almost always it was a male – a father, uncle, grandfather, family friend – who provided this experience, satisfying the same inborn desire that fuels the thrill-ride industry. But unlike roller coaster rides, this process is more than merely fun. It teaches the child that while scary things will come in life, you can count on dad to take care of you. This builds both confidence and comfort.
Mom is different. She mostly doesn’t feel compelled to throw babies, but rather to hold them close, offering a different kind of security. Mom’s way of comforting is essential, but it’s also less likely to build confidence – it doesn’t force the child out of his or her comfort zone. Confidence comes from taking risks and recovering safely from them. Dad’s work.
A sad story told to me by a friend – who is a professional counselor – illustrates this truth poignantly. One of his adult clients was seeing him about his lifelong struggle to trust others. The client told how when he was a boy, his father played with him one day, having him jump off the porch steps and into his arms. With each jump, his dad would take a step back, forcing the boy to jump farther and harder. With each jump, the boy was learning that he could do it – he could take chances and succeed in hitting the mark, his dad’s arms. When the father was a considerable distance from the porch, he encouraged the boy to give it all he had: “Jump one more time!” When he was in mid-air, the father stepped back a few steps, allowing his son to land right on his little face on the concrete walkway. In that instant, the boy’s perception of the world changed dramatically, for life. He was hurt, crying, and terribly shaken, but the inward damage was much greater. He looked up at his father with an expression that screamed, “Why did you do that?” The dad looked sternly at the boy and said, “Just a little lesson, son. Nevertrust anyone.”
And that is exactly what the boy grew up to do. His inability to trust others plagued him well into late adulthood.
Fathers who challenge their children to take risks while keeping them safe give them an irreplaceable gift. They encourage their children to push themselves, to climb higher, to run faster, to throw harder, to not give up on a problem, to move beyond fear. Moms, meanwhile, teach caution: “Please be careful. Not so high!” Children need both lessons.
Even in an age when we claim to have evolved beyond narrow gender stereotypes, fathers know their children need them. A national newspaper featured an experimental parenting co-op of four homosexual adults: two lesbians, their sperm-donor friend, and his gay partner. The foursome had one child and were expecting another. The interviewing journalist asked them whether, given their unique parenting arrangement, they ever had conflicts on how to raise the three-year-old child. The sperm-donor father spoke up, saying he believed the biological mother had a tendency to pamper the little boy too much. “When he falls down,” he explained, “she wants to rush over and make sure he is okay. I know he will be fine.” He wanted his boy to learn to trust in his own ability to solve his own problems – a crucial part of growing up. Like most dads, he was not as inclined as mom to provide an immediate answer, preferring to hold back and let the child figure it out.
In this instance, however, when the journalist probed how the four adults resolved such disagreements, the father sheepishly explained that since he was not a legal parent he just kept quiet. As a result of his silence, this child is missing out on a vital life experience. What’s more, this man knows that the boy is being robbed of something important, thanks to a fathering nature that still exists regardless of any attempt to transcend seemingly old-fashioned male and female roles.
The benefits that a mother and a father can provide their children extend to learning self-control. Consider roughhousing. Moms often teach self-control by setting absolute rules on wild behavior in the house, with slightly less rigid rules applying outdoors. This is good. Children need to learn that there are not only an inside voice and an outside voice, but also inside and outside behaviors.
Fathers, however, are more likely to rough it up both in and outside the house. And when they wrestle with their children, the little ones are likely to get so intoxicated with the excitement that they will take it up a notch to increase the buzz. “It’s all fun and games till someone loses an eye” – but with dad, that’s only true up to a point. The fun stops quickly when he catches a little swinging foot or fist solidly in the daddy zone. Generally, this is the moment when dad initiates a firm talk about self-control. Usually it only takes a couple of such instances before junior gets the message. Boys with a good dad learn how to be physical while keeping proper self-control and considering others.
Dads and Pro-Social Behavior
Is there any community that is proud of its high gang activity? Is there any community that mourns its low teen-pregnancy rate and wishes that its young ladies would get out there more and mix it up? Moms and dads teach their sons and daughters universal virtues to combat these problems, but in different ways.
Boys generally have a naturally high level of aggression. They like to break things, rule them, show others who’s boss. Every boy in every culture must learn how to manage this natural male aggression in socially constructive ways. Boys typically do so by receiving correction, acceptance, and encouragement from older men – whether through sports, in the military, by going hunting, or by building things that benefit others.
When a boy goes over the top – driving too fast, burning things, being aggressive toward others – the men, starting with dad, step in and tell him to bring it down a notch. On the other hand, if the boy is reticent or timid, the men will throw him into the middle of the action. In either scenario, the youngster eventually earns the respect and acceptance of the men around him. When a boy misses out on this because there is no dad to help him navigate through the curious world of the male, he may turn either hyperviolent or terribly passive.
Too often, the result is gangs. Gang members typically don’t have a father to guide them and to let them know that they measure up and can respect themselves. In response, these boys make sure the world recognizes them – by engaging in conscienceless physical violence, intimidation, sexual dominance and opportunism, and foolish risk-taking. Mothers can help curb such behavior by their disapproval and broken hearts, but the most powerful and direct cure is an involved dad.
Girls can be violent as well, and they too will desire the attention of the opposite sex. Young women who have been mothered and fathered well are dramatically less likely to become victims of their own emotions and sexuality. A young girl who is sexually healthy is one who has learned what it’s like to be properly loved and cared for by a good man. She learns this first and foremost from her father. To such a girl, a man is not a mystery, and so she is less likely to fall for the manipulative advances of opportunistic males.
Dads and Language Development
Even in terms of language ability, mothers and fathers make different yet essential contributions to a child’s development. A mom is more likely to connect verbally with her children at their own level, using words, phrases, and tones of voice that allow for immediate understanding. Dad’s way is different, less tailored to the child’s own speech and often seemingly less successful. I often noticed this when our children were young. Our child would fall, skin her leg, and start crying. Mom would say, “My goodness, you have a terrible boo-boo.” Dad’s response might be: “That’s quite an abrasion, kid.” Dad’s way provides a vocabulary lesson. In addition, fathers are also more likely to communicate with non-verbal cues, grunts, and facial expressions. Girls and boys who grow up learning from their fathers will be better able to communicate with other males as they enter school and the work world.
Not every man needs to be a stereotypical alpha male in order to be a good dad. Nor do mothers need to be the model of June Cleaver. As I explain in my book Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity, there are a hundred different ways to be a good man and a good woman. Compare Payton Manning and Yo-Yo Ma: two very different ways of being real men. Or contrast Margaret Thatcher and Jacqueline Kennedy: two very different ways of being undeniably female.
There is indeed a universal male nature, just as there is a female nature. If the Western world’s effort to de-gender our children has taught us anything, it’s that gender difference is far more than just a social construct.
The reality of distinct male and female natures extends far beyond the bedroom and bathroom. It shows itself on the playground, in the community, at the school, and on the street. Both a man and a woman are required for the creation of a new child, and both are equally indispensable for rearing that child. This holds true no matter what continent we live in, or in what century. To deny it is delusional. By building families and a culture that affirm the importance of both fathers and mothers, we can give our children – all of them – the childhood which they are entitled to, which they deserve, and which they require.
TODAY’S DAILY DIG
Source: The God Who Heals
Saint Joseph Cafasso
Saint of the Day for June 17
(January 15, 1811 – June 23, 1860)
Saint Joseph Cafasso’s story
Even as a young man, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervor in prayer. After his ordination, he was assigned to a seminary in Turin. There he worked especially against the spirit of Jansenism—an excessive preoccupation with sin and damnation. He used the works of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Alphonsus Liguori to moderate the rigorism popular at the seminary.
Joseph recommended membership in the Secular Franciscan Order to priests. He urged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged daily Communion. In addition to his teaching duties, Joseph was an excellent preacher, confessor, and retreat master. Noted for his work with condemned prisoners, he helped many of them die at peace with God.
Joseph urged one of his former pupils—Saint John Bosco—to establish the Salesians congregation to work with the youth of Turin. Joseph Cafasso died in 1860, and was canonized in 1947. His Liturgical Feast Day is June 23.
Devotion to the Eucharist gave energy to all Joseph’s other activities. Long prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been characteristic of many Catholics who have lived out the Gospel well: Saint Francis, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta among them.
Saint Joseph Cafasso is the Patron Saint of:
What Jesus Did! ‘Always? Always!’
Righteous Father, please forgive my sins. I know they disappoint and disgust you. Thank you for providing your forgiveness for me through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for my sins. Be with me and empower me through your Holy Spirit as I seek always to please you, not out of a sense of guilt or fear, but out of a deep sense of love, joy, appreciation, and praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
Then Israel sang this song: ‘Spring up, O well! Sing to it!’
This well was famous in the wilderness because it was the subject of a promise: “That is the well of which the LORD said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.'” The people needed water, and it was promised by their gracious God. We need fresh supplies of heavenly grace, and in the covenant the Lord has pledged Himself to give us all we require.
The well also became the cause of a song. Before the water gushed out, cheerful faith prompted the people to sing; and as they saw the crystal fountain bubbling up, the music grew more joyful. In similar fashion, we who believe the promise of God should rejoice in the prospect of divine revivals in our souls, and as we experience them our holy joy should overflow. Are we thirsting? Then let us not grumble but sing. Spiritual thirst is bitter to bear, but we need not bear it—the promise indicates a well; so let us be of good heart, and look for it.
Moreover, the well was the center of prayer. “Spring up, O well.” What God has promised to give, we must seek after, or we show that we have neither desire nor faith. This evening let us ask that the Scripture we have read, and our devotional exercises, may not be an empty formality but a channel of grace to our souls. May God the Holy Spirit work in us with all His mighty power, filling us with all the fullness of God. Lastly, the well was the object of effort. “The nobles of the people delved, with the scepter and with their staffs.” The Lord wants us to be active in obtaining grace. Our implements are ill suited for digging in the sand, but we must use them to the best of our ability. Prayer must not be neglected; the gathering of God’s people must not be forsaken; ordinances must not be set aside. The Lord will give us His peace most generously, but not on the path of laziness. Let us, then, stir ourselves to seek Him in whom we find all our fresh and flowing springs.
Learning to Stand
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
June 17, 2018
…”Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….” – Exodus 14:13
The Israelites had just left 400 years of slavery in Egypt. They had fled to the desert, but they had come to a dead end at the Red Sea. Word reached them that Pharaoh had changed his mind. He was sending his troops to recapture the Israelites. They cried out to their leader Moses, complaining that he had brought them that far only to die in the desert.
Learning when to move and when to stand is the greatest challenge for a workplace believer. We are trained for action. We are not trained to sit idly and wait. We are trained to solve problems, not wait for them to resolve themselves. However, God says there are times to wait. We are to wait until He says go. If we go before He says go, we likely will make our situation worse. If the Israelites had attempted to cross the Red Sea before it parted, they would have drowned. If they had fled north to try to avoid the Egyptians, God would not have moved in a miraculous way. God cannot work on our behalf if we continually try to solve our problem when He has instructed us to stand still. Standing still is sometimes the greatest action we can do, although it is the most difficult thing to do in the Christian walk.
Stand still when He says stand and see the deliverance of the Lord.
Father’s Day is observed annually on the third Sunday in June. This day is set aside to honor the role that fathers play in the family structure and society.
After the success of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day observances began to appear. The road to this national observance was not easy.
- The first recorded celebration of Father’s Day happened after the Monograph Mining Disaster, which killed 361 men and left around 1,000 children fatherless in December 1907. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to her pastor Robert Thomas Webb a day honoring all those fathers. On July 5th, 1908, a gathering in honor of these men took place at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church, in Fairmont, West Virginia.
- In 1910, the YMCA in Spokane, Washington recruited several clergymen with the help of Sonora Smart Dodd to honor fathers throughout the city. The date was set for June 5th but was later changed to June 19th (the 3rd Sunday in June) as many clergymen needed more time to prepare.
- Harry C. Meek, a member of Lions Clubs International, claimed that he first had the idea for Father’s Day in 1915. Meek argued that the third Sunday of June was chosen because it was his birthday. The Lions Club has named him “Originator of Father’s Day.” Meek made many efforts to promote Father’s Day and make it an official holiday.
- After a visit to Spokane in 1916 to speak at a Father’s Day celebration, President Woodrow Wilson wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted fearing that the observance would become too commercialized.
- President Calvin Coolidge stopped short of issuing a national proclamation in 1924
- Sonora Smart Dodd continued to work to make Father’s Day a national observance. In 1938, she collaborated with the Father’s Day Council, a group of New York Men’s Wear Retailers for the commercial promotion of the observance. Many Americans resisted the holiday for decades because of these attempts to commercialize the day.
- In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers on the third Sunday in June.
- President Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent national holiday in 1972 over 50 years after Mother’s Day came into existence.
Father’s Day is now celebrated in many countries around the world.