The Fixers in Our Lives

By: Marcy Barthelette

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him. Matthew 12:35  

As I write, it is Father’s Day and I’m listening to Ken and our son on the phone, laughing and having a great time together. It warms my heart to hear them. I must confess, I managed to let Father’s Day sneak up on me this year and neglected to honor the dads in our lives last week. But there’s no rule against celebrating fathers every day so this will be my Father’s Day tribute, albeit a few days late.

My birth came near the end of World War II, so my parents had recently experienced the pressures of wartime but also the often desperate days of the Great Depression. Times were lean for many families then and ours was no different. But my dad was a hard worker and dedicated to providing what he could for us. Life was just so different in those days. Kids didn’t wear name-brand clothing or belong to elite sports teams or travel throughout the country to keep up with their chosen interests. My family lived in a small town and experienced a pretty quiet life by today’s standards. Dad kept very busy trying to feed, clothe, and shelter the three of us, but he took time every weekend during the summer months to sit on the front porch and share the Cardinal baseball games on the radio with me. He loved those Cardinals and we made a few treks to St Louis to watch them in person from the highest seats in the stadium. General admission didn’t give us the best view but the thrill of being at the park was good enough. My dad loved kids and he loved being a grandpa. We lost him too early. He was only sixty seven when he went to heaven and I still miss him. There are so many things I wish I’d said to him. Like many of us, I didn’t appreciate him enough when I still had the chance to show him.

Fast forward to today and I have been blessed to share over forty years with my guy who just happens to be the greatest dad, not only to our kids and grands but also to countless others who have shared time with him in one way or another. He’s been dubbed a kid magnet and the Pied Piper because kids are just drawn to him. It may have something to do with the fact that he’s an overgrown kid himself, but it’s so much more. He has an uncanny ability to understand the inner workings of the young mind. And his patience with them is seemingly unlimited. They come to his garage with flat bicycle tires or a chain off its sprocket and they ride away happily on inflated tires or with a re-seated chain. They’re just little things but they mean so much to the kids. He loans them the tools they need to complete their projects and instructs them when needed. He answers a multitude of questions. He spent decades in Boy Scouts, learning as a scout himself and then leading others in survival skills and the rules for living life by celebrating God, family & country. He’s mentored groups and individual kids, always with a positive attitude. In his eyes, every kid is a good kid or has the potential to be.

And isn’t that just like our God? He sees every one of us as His redeemable kids. We may try to shortchange him but He always knows. We lie to him as kids tend to do at times, but He catches us in every single one. He watches us take paths He wouldn’t have chosen for us, but He always hopes we will come back to Him. His patience with us is seemingly limitless. He trains and teaches and, sometimes, prunes off a part of us that wasn’t to his liking. It’s what a Father does.

The Lord is like a father to his children….Psalm 103:13

On Sunday, we texted the young fathers in our family to thank them for being the men they are as they lead their kids. Like I said earlier, life is different than when I was a kid. Back then, we made cards for our dads….today we send texts to a younger generation of dads. But the point is that we need to tell them we appreciate what they’ve done and are doing. They need to know that their efforts do not go un-noticed. Are they perfect? Certainly not. They’re human. But they are doing what they can to help their kids, our grandkids, become the people they were intended to be.

Probably the biggest role in a father’s life is to be the “fixer” and my guy has certainly lived up to that role. Dads are there to fix things physically and emotionally. But there are some things that only God can fix and no matter how much our kids have an opportunity to learn from their earthly fathers, they ultimately grow up and often grow away. That’s when earthly fathers must trust in their connection to their heavenly father to be the “Fixer” in their kids lives. That’s no easy task and we all know it. But it is the truth. Our heavenly Father can fix anything.

Happy belated Father’s Day to all you dads. Keep at it…you may still be able to help your kids arrive at perfection! We’re still working on ours. They, like all of us, are a continuous work in progress!

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