Column:Get High On Life

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 1, 1998

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / June 1, 1998

Fatherlessness Is Curable Curse Upon World

In his book “Maximized Manhood,” published more than 15 years ago, Edwin Louis Cole said the absentee father was the curse of that day. Today,according to Mr. Cole, founder and president of the Christian men’snetwork that ministers to men worldwide, the main problem is fatherlessness.

Fatherlessness is more than the physical absence of the father. Accordingto Cole, it’s the failure of the father to provide children with the elements essential to their full character and emotional development, things like intimacy, discipline, love and value.

Is it any wonder why gangs are increasing in America? Just look at what they provide – intimacy, discipline, love and value. Cults provide the samethings. They are like surrogate fathers. They succeed where some fathersfail.

When I was growing up, a certain owner of a small neighborhood grocery store had a habit of going on drunken binges and closing for two or three days. One day, someone wrote on his door: “He’s in, but he’s out.” In otherwords, he was physically in but unable to function.

I relate that store owner to the father who is present only physically, but doesn’t function as a father. It would be better for that type of father tobe absent than to be just a physical body not accepting the responsibility of fatherhood.

A few months ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Real Men Love Jesus.” Many males never become men because being a man means takingresponsibility for their choices. Too many fathers today worry more abouttheir reputations than for their character.

Reputation is what people thing of us. Character is what God knows aboutus.

I’m sure all of us have known people who are considered charming. Aperson who is charming is said to have charisma. Charisma can be an assetin the world, but it is never a substitute for character.

I was always considered a “people person.” I’ve been known to be friendly.I can remember a few people saying that I had a certain charisma. Thatwas my reputation.

My wife would refer to me as an “out angel” and a “house devil.” Manyyears ago, I would share this and laugh. I realize now that it wasn’t alaughing matter. I was a phony. My character was weak.Character is keeping promises to your wife and children. Character isbeing on time and honoring your commitments. Character is choosing theharder right instead of the easier wrong. Character is honoring God,family, country and then career. Character is telling a business associatethat you can’t stop for a drink after work because you have to be at your kid’s little league game or dance recital. Character is working through totough times of a marriage rather than throwing in the towel. Character issetting a good example all the time. Character is sacrificing personalpleasures, if necessary, in order to provide for the well-being of your family.

This article is not intended to condemn anyone. I’m just reminded of howlittle godly character I have. I hope that, somehow, someone who readsthis will make a decision to become a real man.

By writing this, I’m determined to, one day, be the godly man I was created to be.

If all the fathers in America would strive to have godly character, the curse of the absentee father and the main problem of fatherlessness would be ended.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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