Although it is not my inclination, many look upon their president as a father figure. In times of crisis they turn to him for comfort and security.
So, in the aftermath of the Orlando Dance Club shooting of June 12, many anticipated the words from the White House.
Regardless of one’s political leanings there seemed to be a disappointment with Barack Obama. He fell short, instead choosing the opportunity to malign those in the branches of government with whom he is reluctant to cooperate and to push his highly controversial agenda to remove the Second Amendment.
Many looked to him to say something like, “I hurt like you hurt, I know you are scared but don’t worry, we will do our best to protect you,” and the like. Instead, he made things worse.
I became reflective about it. I was already feeling empathy for the parents who lost children to the evil of that shooter. And I felt horror and empathy when I heard about the tragic death of the two-year-old in Disney World a few days following.
Often God uses my frustration to motivate me in His ways. God quickened my heart in two modes. Firstly, I have been praying for the survivors and those lives bruised by these events. Secondly, I have been analyzing my own fathering. Are there times when my children have come to me facing a calamity in their lives, seeking comfort, and my initial reaction was to use it has an opportunity to promote my own agenda?
There are many teaching moments in the role of fatherhood and I try not to let them slip away. But there are other times when the most important thing the child needs is my reassuring words and a big hug. May that be the first thing I do.
When I reflect on my fathering, I apply it to my role at Kingswood as well. As a professor, obviously my major role is that of instructing and modeling. But in the midst of that may I always remember to provide what is needed, and what is needed may not always be a lesson.
Yes Barack Obama blew it, but I will fight the urge to judge him too harshly for I may have done the same thing to others who were looking up to me.
Graphic: It’s A Wonderful Life (public domain photo)