Kelli has just given me a book by Eric Metaxas called 7 Men for Father’s Day. It looks like it will be a good read, in the introduction it says:
WHAT IS REAL MANHOOD?
At the beginning of this introduction I said that there was a general confusion about manhood. This confusion relates to the larger idea of authority itself coming under attack, which we’ve just mentioned. Since the father has traditionally been seen as the leader of the family,it only follows that if we’ve taken down the very idea of authority down, we’ve taken fatherhood down with it.
Can anyone doubt that the idea of fatherhood has declined dramatically in the last forty or so years? One of the most popular TV shows of the 1950’s was called Father Knows Best. It was a sweet portrayal of a wonderful and in many ways typical American family. The father, played by Robert Young, was the unquestioned authority, but his authority was never harsh or domineering. His strength was a quiet strength. In fact, he was gentle and wise and kind and giving – so much so that just about everyone watching the show wished their father could be more like that! But of course today we tend to see fathers depicted in the mainstream media as either dunces or as overbearing fools.
There is something vital in the idea of father hood and it gives us a clue to the secret of a great man. But we have to point out that a man needn’yt be an actual father to bear the traits of every good father. Two of the men in this book, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Paul II never married or had children. Even George Washington, who married, never had children of his own. And yet we Americans call him the father of our country. And in the case of John Paul II, the root word from which we get “pope” is papa – father. Being a father is not a biological thing. If we think of the fatherhood of God, we get a picture of someone who is strong and loving and who sacrifices himself for those he loves. That’s a picture of real fatherhood and real manhood.