“The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy new and the man in the moon. ‘When ya comin’ home Dad?’, ‘I don’t know when; but we’ll get together then. You know we’re gonna have a good time then!” That song by Harry Chapin still haunts those of us who remember it. Harry Chapin is gone but his wisdom echoes. “He walked away but his smile never tipped. He said, ‘I’m gonna be like him, yeah! Ya know I’m gonna be like him.” The father was of the absentee variety. He pursued his own interests veiled in the pretense of a career. The boy grew up and went to college. The father asked him, “Can you sit for a while?” In the spirit he had learned the boy answered, “What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys. See ya later. Can I have them please?” The tide had turned.
The father continues to tell his story: “I’ve long since retired. My son’s moved away. I called him up just the other day. I said, ‘I like to see you if you don’t mind.’ He said, ‘I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time. You see, my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it’s been sure nice talking to you, dad. It’s been sure nice talking to you.’ And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me: he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
We had read chapter 8 of Proverbs and I Corinthians 5 during our family Bible reading the night before I sat to write this. Solomon volunteered that in the past year he’s beginning to act a lot more like me. He says he’s developing the same sense of humor, his eyes are starting to turn green as mine did and his voice is a lot deeper. What I heard him saying is he is gathering the characteristics of a role model. He is becoming like me.
With this privilege of his emulating me, there comes great responsibility. He will pass on my character to the next generation. This can ill afford to be a fleeting form of narcissism. Without true substance this narcissism could one day look as idiotic as these boys who think it’s cool to wear pants that intentionally fall down below their behinds. They all look as stupid as the person they thought was cool. Stupid.
In North Korea a man stares into blackness toward a ceiling he knows is there. He can’t see it because his cell is dark. He is there because his testimony in Christ was uncompromised. Hundreds of thousands share his plight in North Korea alone. And what of his children? If you’ve got yours, invest in them.
“Even to this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”(1 Corinthians 4:11-17)
Written by Keith Hood. Keith operates Cross Cultural Musique in Leesburg with his wife, Janice. He has a blog at http://soulfoodfromthehood.spaces.live.com.