It must be hard to be a father today.
Providing, protecting, and guiding a child through life are hard enough tasks in a normal world. But throw in an environment where:
- Men are viewed as “toxic”
- Diversity is king and the color of your skin can get you canceled
- Men can become women and women can become men
- Pornography is accessible by a little device in everyone’s pocket
- The world in general—from food prices to politics—appears to be falling apart
In that world (which is ours), the thought of trying to be a good father seems downright overwhelming. How can fathers raise their children right, particularly when many of today’s fathers were raised in fatherless homes?
A small bit of fatherly advice, given to Ralph Moody in the early 1900s and chronicled in Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers, provides a surprisingly relevant bit of wisdom applicable to our times of diversity, cancel culture, and hardship.
“Son,” Moody’s father told him,
There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they’re honest men or dishonest men. Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes—honest and dishonest.
In the eyes of Moody’s father, there was never any reason for a person to behave as an entitled victim:
Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.
In essence, what Moody’s father told him was that color doesn’t count in the assessment of a person. Nor does economic class. But character—that’s what really counts. And character is exactly what a good father will teach his children.
But you can’t just pass along this little speech to your children about having character and actively doing what is right. You have to live it. You have to live (and die someday) in correspondence with the God who made you, working with your hands (and your brain!), being honest, not playing the victim or looking for handouts and favors, but putting your heart and soul into whatever you do and doing it for Him. Everything else will follow naturally and will serve both you and your children well—even in the midst of crazy, unpredictable times.
Moody’s father lived this foundational truth and lived it well, as evidenced by his son’s testimony, even though he was only present in his son’s life for about a decade, dying early and leaving the young Moody to take care of his mother and siblings. But the many times Moody speaks of what his father did or taught him show the legacy that such a father can leave.
The more today’s fathers pass along this same legacy to their children, the sooner we will see the craziness in this nation diminish and its dignity rise.
Image Credit: Humeraali, CC BY-SA 4.0