Chris and I watched a movie the other day whose main character faced prison time. In his desperation to have protection on the inside, he contemplated joining a gang. Right before the character embarked on his first ride to commit his first murder, a friend pulled him away from the gang life.
While reflecting on his state of mind just prior to his savior’s arrival, the character commented on how intoxicating the situation was with the weed and alcohol and women and encouragement and camaraderie. He said he felt he knew for one brief moment what his purpose in life was. He felt like he belonged. Although he opposed murder, he felt like joining this gang was his only way to gain acceptance and protection.
Despite a similarity in age, the character viewed his friend as a father figure. The character clearly needed a father’s love – he quickly latched onto several men in the film, and he lamented that he never had family meals and the like. At one point, in a pain-induced stupor, he called his friend dad.
Even though this character led a privileged life and earned monetary success, he still fell prey to the inducements of feigned familial love offered by gang affiliation. This man, who appeared to have it all, almost lost everything because he never benefitted from his father’s love.
How much moreso our children? How much moreso our young men, in particular?
Fathers impact their children’s lives, whether through their presence or their absence.
To all the fathers who love their children and live as representations of our Father above, thank you. You deserve this day of celebration.