When I was about 10 years old, my Dad and Mom bought for me a book that was the story of General Douglas MacArthur, then a much younger man when he became one of my childhood heroes.
Great men become our heroes. Young Douglas, (1880-1964), was graduated at the top of his class at West Point and later served as the superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy.
This internationally known general wrote what he called “An Old Soldier’s Prayer.” Every word of his prayer seems to fit perfectly and straight from his heart and faith in God whom he loved and served. He reverently prayed:
“Build me a son, O God, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, but humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishes will not replace his actions – a son who will know Thee, and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Send him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort but the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge; here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
“Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master others; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past, and after all these things are his, this I pray, enough sense of humor that he may always be serious yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength; then I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’ ”
We best honor our fathers by loving and serving obediently our Heavenly Father. If possible, be in touch with your father and let him know how deeply you love him.
The story of how Father’s Day came into existence is very unusual. It all happened in 1925, 88 years ago.
“Father’s Day, as some might assume, was not conceived in the egotism of a man, but was originated by a woman. To Mrs. John Bruce Dodd belongs the honor.
“The day actually came into being on a very small scale, when a woman, Mrs. John Dodd, in Spokane, Washington, remembered her father as she sat in church on Mother’s Day.”
Two of the greatest men I ever met were my father, Clarence Ellis, and Kitty’s father, Luke Harshbarger, and my Grandpa Perry, my mother’s dad. Grandpa Ellis died when my dad was nine years old. Dad told me a little about him, about all he could remember. I wish I could have known him.
My dad, his pictures and words, even a letter or two he wrote are treasured possessions. I recall so many things about him that helped shape my life. He died July 1, 1963, at age 59, but I still miss him every day and also Kitty’s dad who lived to be 88.
Fathers are very special people. None of us would be here without them. They are the two big heroes of my life. Honor your father on Father’s Day. Talk with him if you can. Let him know how deeply he is loved and appreciated.
I suggest we all read Ephesians 6:1-4, especially verse two, “Honor your father and mother.”
© 2013 Wm. C. Ellis
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