Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fathers and Focus

A couple of reflections this week:

* To fathers of daughters: Run, don’t walk to the nearest bookstore and buy “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: Ten Secrets Every Father Should Know” by Meg Meeker, M.D. This is a sobering, challenging, encouraging and inspiring look at the huge impact fathers have on their daughters. In a highly readable form, Meeker draws on sociological research along with personal reflections and case stories from her pediatric practice and her counseling with teenagers. Here is an excerpt from chapter one, entitled “You are the Most Important Man in Her Life”:

“Men, good men: We need you. We – mothers, daughters, and sisters – need your help to raise healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own, because fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life. …When she’s
in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence. If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be terrified, overwhelmed, or both. Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man… When she is twenty-five, she will mentally size her boyfriend or husband up against you. When she is thirty-five, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is seventy-five, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together.”

Fathers, this will inspire you to be a devoted Dad to all your kids but especially to your
daughters. So much of what we hear in society devalues the role of men and the importance of manhood. This book affirms men and embraces manhood. And make note: It’s never too late.

* I told you recently that I have become enamored with the idea of simplicity and am working hard to reduce the clutter (activities and things) in my life. Interestingly, I keep running across the concept of simplicity in books about ministry (e.g., “Simple Church,” “Seven Practices of Effective Ministry”). Many American churches went through a period of trying to meet every need and address every opportunity, adopting a ministry “menu” philosophy with the assumption that every program could be a potential entry point to reach the un-churched. Most wound up exhausted, disorganized, and not particularly effectual evangelistically or pastorally. Now many of the thriving churches in America have focused their efforts on the essentials and are experiencing renewal and growth. In
“Seven Practices”, practice #3 is called “Narrow the Focus: Do Fewer Things in Order to Make a Greater Impact.” Here’s a short excerpt: “Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. Your potential to make an impact with your life is directly related to your willingness to narrow your focus.”

This is true for each of us as well as for the church, of course. Are you “committing a great deal of yourself to nothing”? Isn’t it significant that Jesus points us to a “narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13-14) rather than a wide one? Focus is powerful.


Blogger DeShee said...

Happy Easter Pastor!

4:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home