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Henry Bates

Henry Bates

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Frank E. Richelieu
"The Art Of Being Yourself" 

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Faces of the Fallen
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The Way to a Wonderful Life Message for June 21, 2015

                        “I think back to the day I drove Michelle and a newborn Malia home from the hospital nearly 13 years ago—crawling along, miles under the speed limit, feeling the weight of my daughter’s future resting in my hands. I think about the pledge I made to her that day: that I would give her what I never had—that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father. I knew that day that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless she had every opportunity in hers.” Barack Obama

            I could have used the words of many different fathers for this message but the reason I chose these from President Obama is due to the fact that much of his younger years his father was absent and unknown to him.  So often we hear or read the words that we are strengthened through struggle and so perhaps it was that struggle that the young Barack Obama went through with his attempts to reconcile his relationship with his father to one of normalcy that created in him the conviction to be the father to his children that he never had for himself.  All evidence shows that he has been a wonderful father to his children even with all the pressures of the Office of the President.  And in our current culture a role model for fathers is so important for so many.

           I believe that in all things the spirit of man is the determining factor in whether he will be a success or a seeming failure.  This is also true in his role of father.  Those who live in the experience of low self-esteem or in the mind-set of blame and negativity generally fail in their role as a father.  We cannot give what we do not have and a father cannot give his children confidence and feelings of self-worth if these things are not part of his own consciousness.  We hear so much about absent fathers failing their children but we don't hear so much about failing fathers with children unless there is a tragic event that occurs.  

            USA Today reported in 2014 that on average 450 children in the U.S. are killed each year by their parents.  Fathers are more likely to kill. Men killed six out 10 children, most often beating or shooting them. Fathers were at fault in 75% of cases when children were shot to death by a parent and in 64% of cases when a child was beaten.  These are grotesque facts but facts nonetheless.  Men are far more likely to act violently against their children to "get even" with their wives or girlfriends than women are.  A Missouri man was sentenced to only 7 years in prison for killing his son.  People who embezzle money are given longer sentences!  Men who commit spousal abuse are more likely to commit child abuse.  And men are much more likely to fail to take responsibility for their children than mothers are.  

are some recent statistics: "One of the largest shifts in family structure is this: 34% of children today are living with an unmarried parent—up from just 9% in 1960, and 19% in 1980. In most cases, these unmarried parents are single. However, a small share of all children—4%–are living with two cohabiting parents, according to CPS data."  

          This is not a very uplifting message for "Father's Day" and it is sad that it is so. For many children "Father's Day" is a burning memory of something horrible, something cruel and ugly, that fills their minds with shame and fear.  Just as the politicians fail to name the role of racism and guns for many of the problems that we have in this country, far too many people, including the Mass Media, have failed children by not giving the necessary attention to this growing problem of parental violence and abandonment of children.  The child abuse at the hands of priests in the Catholic Church got some attention for a short while but soon that too was ignored by and large by the Media.  And most Catholics found their own selfish justifications in remaining in the churches that did more to protect the perpetrators of violence and sexual abuse of children than they did to protect their victims.
Even in the most extreme cases I have never heard of there being an empty Catholic church on a Sunday ... and there should have been hundreds of them.

           The Master Mind Jesus taught, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  The important words for each of us are "come to me" ... this "me" is synonymous with the infinite "I" which is G-d within us.  The children of the world belong to one Father (Spirit) and it is the Love of G-d within us, that part of G-d within us,  that calls us to care for them, to demand that they be protected even from their earthly fathers and mothers.  Children will probably always have fathers who are absent, yet each of us, if our heart is in tune with the Love of G-d, will find an opportunity to fill the void in a child's life that has been created by an absent father.  We can do this in individual ways or we can do this through the many organizations that offer this opportunity.  As fathers become absent, we can make it possible for children to look a little farther away to experience the love of a dad. 

"Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”Anne Geddes


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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"Even God could not have created a perfect individual.  We must go
through the experiences of evolution." -
Dr. Ernest Holmes


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