Monday, October 6, 2008

The Heart of a Father

Our nation faces a serious problem, and that is sucky fathers. We seem to believe that being a father ends with a simple donation of sperm. There is no doubt that the men have failed in the most important aspect of manhood that is fathering. We have failed our families, and in turn our families have failed, and where families fail, people perish. Men have not been there to tell their daughters they are beautiful or teach there sons how to work hard and become real men. The result has been women and girls with no confidence and boys that grow into emasculated men. Oh, they grow up to the size of men, but never acquire the character of an authentic man.

Single mothers have had to try to fill the void that fathers have left in their families. The only problem is that no matter how good a mother may be; she can never be a father. Thank God for the mothers that have done their best in this situation, but an absent father is a situation that can simply never be overcome. As badly as a child needs the unconditional love and nurturing that only a mother can provide, they need the firm hand and confidence that can only come from a father. Also, within the heart of every child is the desire to please their father. Without that they just don't know how to correctly proceed in any relationship.

What can we do?

It ain't brain surgery; you must do what you know to do. If you have already failed as a father, you must go to your children, old or young, and ask for their forgiveness. Humble yourself and show them how to restore a relationship. If you do not teach them they will never know how. Even if they don't forgive you, at least you will have taught them something. If you have to think about whether or not you have failed, there is no doubt, you have!

You must make it right, NOW!

If you have failed them because they live far away, move closer to them.
If you have failed them because you are pissed off at your wife or ex-wife, get over it.
If you have failed them because you have to work too much, demand schedule changes or get a new job. Although these things may be difficult to do, they are not difficult to figure out.

I understand that providing for one's family is a primary responsibility of a father, but if that provision destroys your son or daughter image or character, how can you continue?
We are in a fight for our children's hearts and souls, and it is a battle none of us can afford to lose.

But the sad truth is most men have failed or are failing.My greatest passion is being a father, and I have discovered something extraordinary about fatherhood. The heart of God is the heart of a father. The first step to becoming a better man is unleash the "Father's Heart" that is within you. Never quit on your kids, or even their friends that may need a father in their lives.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fishing with the Generations

One of the greatest joys of a fisherman, or any outdoorsman, is to see the next generation fall in love with the ocean. Recently I had the honor of an offshore fishing trip with my dad, my brother, his two sons’, and my son. We did not stay out long or tear it up fishing, but we did have a fishing trip with the generations.

It all started 60 some years ago with my father fishing in the rivers, streams, and ponds of south Alabama. He fished as much or more for food as for fun, but times have changed. We fish for fun. To see my dad and my son on the same boat struggling to catch bait, fight fish, and head for home was truly a joy.

It was at the end of May and we decided to take the three boys on their first offshore trip. It was a beautiful morning with forecasted seas of one foot. First we headed south out of Port Canaveral, Florida in order to catch bait. What you expect to be the easiest part of the day often is the most difficult part of the day. This was just such an occasion. The bait we were after are called “pogies” locally. They were there, but they were scattered. Normally you can make a couple of cast with a net and your live well will be overflowing. Not today!! After 30 or so cast with a heavy 10 foot net we had three of four dozen. Not enough for a hardcore fishing trip but plenty for our purposes.

We would be targeting King Fish, so we headed to a popular fishing ground for Kings, called Pelican Flats. All we really wanted was to let the boys tangle with the biggest fish of their young lives. My son just turned six, and other than a few catfish and a shark he has not caught many fish.

We arrived and started slow trolling our live “pogies” over the flat. The people around us seemed to be having better luck than us, but after trolling for a while we got our strike, and my son was up. With some help for dad my son landed the first of hopefully many offshore fish. His mom would have been very proud.

The next strike was a big one, and it was my brother’s son was up. This fish was strong and my nephew would require quite a bit of help. Fishing with live bait for King Fish does not need much drag so whatever this was making short work of our 350 yards of 20 pound test line. Pulling the lines in my dad turned toward the running fish in order to regain some line. After 30 minutes of pulling on this fish, we knew it was not a King, and we finally saw some color.

It was a Jack Cravalle, or what we call an hour Jack, because they take an hour to catch. Pound for pound they are one of the strongest fish in the ocean. Normally this would not be the most exciting catch, but with young boys in the boat it was worth the long battle. We pulled it over the gunnels, posed for a picture, and released it to plague other fisherman.

After one more kingfish, another long battle with an “Hour Jack”, and a couple of break offs and pulled hooks, it was time to head home. It was a short trip, but one to remember for a lifetime. Seize these opportunities when you get the chance. You may have to make a trip like this happen. There will be plenty of time for hardcore fishing trips, but precious little time to help your 40 pound son fight a 30 pound fish.