Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just Wait Until Your Dad Gets Home

There was a time in America that moms would stay at home and dads would go to work. The kids, especially in the summer, were fairly free to roam the neighborhood and do what kids do: have fun and sometimes get in trouble. Moms usually watched out for any kids that happened to be within watching distance. The mom network was a very tight-knit group and any transgression committed by a child was soon reported to the appropriate mother. The mother would then stand on the front stoop and call out her child's name in a voice that would stop any kid in his tracks within earshot. The unfortunate soul whose name was called had two options. He could run home and face the music (never the preferred choice) or he could bolt to the nearest pier looking for any ocean-going vessel needing a young deckhand.

In this instance (and because the nearest ocean was 1,500 miles away), the kid chose to face the consequences.

Upon entering the house, the door was closed, the child was ushered into a chair, and the charges were enumerated. If the transgression warranted a higher authority, the child was summarily dismissed to his bedroom with the ominous "Wait until your father comes home!" ringing in his ears. No greater foreboding was possessed by a young boy's mind than that which rattled his brain between mom's words and dad's footsteps through the front door.

Mom was tough, but dad was dreaded.

I recently overheard a new mom discussing how her daughter reacts to discipline. This young mom is the one who goes to work and dad is the one who stays home to raise their daughter. The mom was sharing how her 18-month-old daughter will seldom respond to mom's discipline efforts, but when dad speaks, the daughter jumps to obey. The mom thought this was not fair, but made the observation that in her upbringing, it was dad she feared, not mom. Mom would discipline, but dad would punish. She further observed that her dad's voice was what she feared. It was loud, deep, and authoritative. She laughed as she mentioned hearing stories from her mom telling how before any discipline took place her mom had to sit in the bedroom until dad returned from work. The young mom wondered why do children respond to dad more than mom?

As I overheard her talking I couldn't help but hear my confirmation pastor admonish his students: "You are to fear and love God." Maybe this is part of the answer -- I feared my dad; I loved my dad. Whether it's a more powerful, you've-got-my-full-attention-now voice or some other quality, part of who dads are produces both love and a healthy amount of fear in their children.

Perhaps fearing and loving my dad made it easier to understand how I was to fear and love God?

Now I wonder why that is?

1 comment :

The Layman said...

Good old Pastor Elmer Yohr wrote sometime in the mid 1950 "The Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." in Herbew

To this day I do not doubt that our Heavenly Father is soveriegn and there is no logical reason to limit his power in 2010. We have to many clowns claiming the scribes made another mistake when they were copying the ancient books. Yep, never limit God's power to make His wishes known to mankind