A Father’s Lament: What Kind of Country are We Leaving Our Kids and Grandkids?

Since the first national Father’s Day in 1910, dads of every generation have wondered and worried about the future world in which their children would live.

Such concern is not entirely misplaced.

If you had become a father back at the time the holiday was first celebrated at a YMCA in Spokane, Wa., your kids would have had to navigate the Spanish flu (50 million deaths), World War I (20 million deaths) and the reprise of the KKK.

Just about the time a child born in 1910 would be getting out of high school, the Great Depression would put 25% of the people out of work.

Your grandsons would likely have been drafted to battle the Nazis and kamikaze pilots in World War II or communists in North Korea.

Problems are part of every generation, but not all challenges are equal, and neither are the sources nor the consequences of the crisis.

The editors of Commentary magazine are calling our current circumstances the “great unraveling,” and it’s hard to disagree with them.

“Social-justice mobs have taken aim at freedom of expression, inventing new heresies daily and ruining the lives of those who unwittingly give voice to them,” they wrote earlier this week.

“Forced confessions and language proscriptions are the order of the day. Poetry, fiction, movies, and television shows—including children’s cartoons—are canceled and excised from history. Indeed, all art and opinion are now subject to the chopping block lest they prove insufficiently propagandistic.”

As the nation pauses this Sunday to laud and lift up its fathers, I’ve been pondering a simple question: Is this the type of world and nation we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?

I think we all know the answer to that question – no!

My upbringing in Southern California was far from idyllic. At the time, though, my broken home was unusual. Almost all of my friends had both a mother and a father. Not me. I envied them. On “Father-Son Night” at a football game, I was the only player whose dad didn’t show up.

But back in the middle part of the 20th century, there was still a consensus on the major things, specifically that a person’s faith was important and deserving of respect. Although some people “played” church, many still went, and culture wasn’t hostile to deeply held religious beliefs.

So, what kind of country do I want to leave to my children and future generations?

I hope and pray that they’ll live in a nation that sees faith as foundational and not ancillary.

I want them to live in a world that respects all life, from the moment of conception to last breath.

All men and women are made in the image of God. In fact, the Bible makes clear that all the races come from one man:

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26).

In short, I want to leave my kids a country where faith is put first, life is cherished, and every human being is regarded with equal and infinite worth.

Our country currently faces many challenges that can leave us all disheartened and discouraged.

But it’s my prayer that we would embrace the battles that confront us and meet them head on.

Winston Churchill once said, “We ought to rejoice at the responsibilities with which destiny has honored us and be proud that we are guardians of our country in an age when her life is at stake.”

Every generation faces challenges large and small. Life leaves no one inoculated from trying times and worried fears.

And this Father’s Day, I pray that we can all take up our crosses, lean into the fight, and give our all to leave our children, and our children’s children, a country whose best days are still yet to come.

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Jim Daly with Paul Batura

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