Friday, October 30, 2009

Sins of the father

Standing in our local hardware store buying bulbs, I look up at the in-store television and saw this huge mushroom shaped silver object floating in the sky. I had no idea what I was looking at. Later that night I learned that the object in the sky was a homemade balloon that supposedly broke from its tether with a 6 year old boy inside.
The next day, every network brought wall-to-wall interviews of the Heene family and their close encounter with disaster. Everyone I knew breathed sighs of relief that Mr. Heene’s son Falcon was not in the balloon but was safely “hiding” in their attic.
Sympathy for Richard Heene evaporated like ice on a hot griddle when the world discovered that the whole incident was a massive hoax to attract publicity, fame, and money.
As a father raising boys, my emotions went from shock, anger, to sorrow. Sorrow because that’s not what fathers are called to do.

• Fathers are accountable to God for the nurture and spiritual development of their children. Paul says of fathers,” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
• Fathers are to model the character of God. “Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.” Deuteronomy 8:5
• Fathers are called to model integrity, honesty and humility. So much of what children learn is more caught, than taught. They will remember what we do more than what we say.

What kind of life lesson is Richard Heene teaching his children? Undoubtedly, the lesson is, “It's ok to lie when trying to achieve personal ambitions.” He seemed willing to sacrifice his family on the altar of fame and the pursuit of money. How tragic.

Let me be careful: I am not a perfect father. I am sure I have made my share of mistakes. While I could never do what Richard Heene did, my heart is in constant need of spiritual renovation. May the Lord help every father live with joy the words of Paul, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This is the greatest safeguard against selfish ambition.