Mine is probably of a time he took my sister and I to the train station to see a train pass and to teach us how the train indicators worked. I remember those lessons to date.
I often ask this question from a subjective point of view. Assuming that most people have fathers, or that they actually have a memory of him, yet, perhaps the last memory they have of him is too painful to want to recall the first.
“Emma, don’t ask me about my father. All I know is that he was a drunkard and he died in a bar.”
“The only memory I have of my dad is of a time he beat me so bad, because I stood with a boy outside the gate.”
Slowly my spirit gets crushed as I get these responses. A war starts in my mind as I try to reason out where it all started. A colleague argues that men lost their place in society when there was war, and I agree with him. During the world war, men were sent to battle and women were left in homes trying to do their part to win the war. Girls grew up without the love of a father, boys grew up not knowing what the role of a man was and children became orphans. Those who were lucky enough to see their fathers after the war, could barely recognize them. Most fathers had shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some did not speak and many engaged in drunkenness to numb the emotions that came with what they had seen at war: thoughts of death, sights of death and near-death experiences. The world had few fathers left, no chivalry and no leaders in the home.
What many don’t know is that the effects of war are felt through miles and generations; because war leaves wounds that not even time and distance can completely heal. What many still don’t realize is the fact that today men fight bigger wars. Wars of alcoholism; wars of addictions and failure; wars of many hours at work and night study for that MBA.
I live in a generation where so people lose their fathers to these wars. Where many people forget that alcoholism is a disease that eats someone up as they see; and sadly enough I also live in a generation where boys and girls indulge in alcohol like their fathers.
I was recently in a group discussion where someone raised the issue about ladies setting standards that are too high for men to reach. A woman wants a spiritual leader, yet the man has never seen his father lead his mother or the family spiritually. She wants a man who pulls chairs, opens doors, carries handbags, gives up his jacket for her when it gets cold and takes her to her doorstep when it gets dark. But chivalry must have been killed during war and fathers in my generation forgot all about it.
So, you think ladies want these things because they have seen them in movies? No. Ladies want these things because they have missed out on them all their life, because they have seen their mothers suffer in the hands of a man who did not have them, because they have some hope that there’s a man out there who is part of the remnant.
I get sad when bhang and hard drugs are abused so openly in campus, when men have become so feminized. In his book, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, Robert Lewis says that,
“Our culture is in deep trouble, and at the heart of its trouble is its loss of a vision for manhood. If it’s difficult for you and me as adult males to maintain our masculine balance in this gender-neutral’ culture, imagine what it must be like for our sons, who are growing up in an increasingly feminized world.”
I often wonder what remains for the next generation. But here is the thing, there is a remnant. There are things that can only be taught by the Father and such things are the real matters of the heart. Robert Lewis continues to say that Christian fathers can use knighthood as a symbol, an ideal, and a metaphor for guiding their sons into authentic manhood. Chivalry began with knights and the biblical symbol of a knight is in Ephesians 6 where we are told to put on the full armour of God.
"11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Chivalry is a symbol of sacrificial love discussed in 1st Corinthians 13 and such love was demonstrated at the cross by Christ for his bride. We can win this war, because you are the remnant, be the fathers whose children will have first and last memories of you.