There was never any doubt in our house that kids were important. Dad tried to make every ball game and even coached quite a few, too. He counseled high school and university age students. We had kids of all ages over at our house all the time. He also took me hunting, fishing, horseback riding, to Friday night football games, and to dirt track car races. He threw the ball with me and prayed with me. He was a real dad! Two powerful memories, however, really stand out in my mind above all the rest.
The first memory is of my dad, extremely ill and weak, going out to stop a guy down the street from beating his kid out front of their house. Other men — physically well and strong men — stayed inside their homes not wanting to risk involvement. Not my dad. No one should get away with beating his kid, especially not in public. On dad's watch, no one did. At that point of my dad's illness, the drunken father could have killed him, but that was a risk my father took. The well being of the child was more important to my dad than his own physical safety. So, dad intervened, protecting the kid until the police arrived on the scene with the abusive man spewing threats and profanities.
Second memory occurred when I was in middle school. The dad of a friend got up front at church. He was holding my friend's adopted baby sister. He told everyone that the home for "unwed mothers" that helped them adopted this little girl was very short of money and needed help. Otherwise, they might not make it. My dad wrote a check for more money than we had in the bank. Somehow we made it financially — actually, my folks received an unexpected check in the mail the next day. It was just enough to cover the gift.
So today, as I look toward Father's Day at the end of this week, I'm thinking of my dad. All this week, we'll share dad-related stories. So I couldn't help but think of finding a way to help kids out on Father's day in honor of my dad. Two groups that help kids are very important to me.
The first group is Christian Homes and Family Services. They have a way to honor your dad by helping kids who don't have dads. It's an effort I help get started called Tied to Life. You sign up online and Christian Homes sends a card as well as a contribution letter telling your dad that a donation has been made in his honor. The gift goes to help unborn children find a Christian home. Check out how this all works on their website: http://www.christianhomes.com/tiedtolife/ It's simple to do, helps a good cause, isn't that expensive ($20), and most dads love it! They've even promised to expedite things as much as possible so the card is there by Father's Day.
Another way to help kids is through Compassion International. Our family helps sponsor a young boy with Compassion and feel like this is a great way to keep my dad's legacy of loving kids alive today. You can do this and be part of Heartlight's Compassion International team. Just go to the Compassion Website.
(Specific web address http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=127408)
You can get more information, sign up to sponsor, or simply check out their ministry. Sponsoring a child with Compassion is a great way to get your own children involved in something that blesses others.
Oh, and if there is anything you'd like to say about your dad, I'd love to hear about it on my blog: http://blog.heartlight.org/phil/2007/06/our_dads.html