From the Words in the Legacy written in Deuteronomy: “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your GOD has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your GOD, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.”………..”These words that I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
Could there be any clearer message about what a father is supposed to give his son? It might be summarized simply as “direction”.
“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.” Thomas Carlyle
How do ever expect a boy to do such a thing without direction? Yes, he may get there someday; but how many errors could have been avoided if he were to have had a father who mentored him. Could his days have been prolonged? Could he have reached higher before so many trials and errors that slowed his progress and given “time and chance” the foothold to take their toll?
In perhaps the greatest western of all time, “Lonesome Dove” Augustus McCrae confronts his partner, Captain Call, regarding a young lad named Knute. The Captain was his likely father since he had been the closest and most frequent partner of a local whore who bore the boy. Augustus tells the Captain while he is on his deathbed: “I want you to tell Knute that you’re his father, I’ve already told him myself, but I want him to hear the words from you”. The captain is indignant and responds: “You shouldn’t not of told him that”. Augustus responds: “It’s time you stopped mistreating that boy”. How many fathers have failed to give their sons their rightful legacy and name; how many, who live under the same roof as Captain Call did, have failed like he did? If you have ears then you must hear; “a boy will not become a man with a sense of purpose or of understanding until, he is affirmed by his father; or, the closest man who has assumed the role.” And, if you expect to affirm the lad at some point, you must lead him in a direction and guide him, discipline him, tell him you love him and provide a legacy for him to grow up in. Just because he lives under your roof is no guarantee “the ship has a rudder”. Remember, the words of Harry Chapin: “the cats in the cradle with the silver spoon, the little boy blue and the man in the moon, when you cumin’ home dad, I don’t know when, we’ll get together then, son, we’ll get together then, you know we’ll have a good time then!” When today strikes midnight, its gone forever, leaving in its place something you’ve traded for?
The first thing Moses told his men to share with their sons – “ Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”. Every challenge needs to have a starting point for finding a solution. This is it! This is where you start building the rudder. You know that life has its good and bad, sunny days lie between the storms; and while you bask in the calm and serenity, you know, if you have lived to see any shades of grey, the winds aren’t really that far away, Like Gordon Lightfoot sang: “Superior they say never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early”. Ain’t it so?