A Faithful Father

4:18:00 PM

This is a story that was recently forwarded to me. I haven’t been able to confirm if this is a true story but the earthquake in Armenia in the year 1988 was a true event that killed over 30,000 people in less than 4 minutes. 

“A couple Samuel and Danielle sent their young son, Armand, off to school. Samuel squatted before his son and looked him in the eye, “Have a good day at school, and remember, no matter what, I’ll always be there for you.” They hugged and the boy ran off to school.

Hours later, a powerful earthquake rocked the area. In the midst of the pandemonium, Samuel and Danielle tried to discover what happened to their son but they couldn’t get any information. The radio announced that there were thousands of casualties. Samuel then grabbed his coat and headed for the school. When he reached the area, what he saw brought tears to his eyes. Armand’s school was a pile of debris and other parents were standing around crying.

Samuel found the place where Armand’s classroom used to be and began pulling a broken beam off the pile of rubble. He then grabbed a rock and put it to the side, and then grabbed another one.
One of the parents looking on asked, “What are you doing?” “Digging for my son,” Samuel answered. The man then said, “You’re just going to make things worse! The building is unstable,” and tried to pull Samuel away from his work.

Samuel kept working. As time wore on, one by one, the other parents left. Then a worker tried to pull Samuel away from the rubble. Samuel looked at him and said, “Wont you help me?” The worker left and Samuel kept digging.

All through the night and into the next day, Samuel continued digging. Parents placed flowers and pictures of their children on the ruins. But Samuel just kept working. He picked up a beam and pushed it out of the way when he heard a faint cry, “Help! Help!” Samuel listened but didn’t hear anything again. Then he heard a muffled voice, “Papa?”

Samuel began to dig furiously. Finally he could see his son. “Come on out, son!” he said with relief.
“No,” Armand said. “Let the other kids come out first because I know you’ll get me.” Child after child emerged until finally little Armand appeared. Samuel took him in his arms and Armand said, “I told the other kids not to worry because you told me that you’d always be there for me!”
Fourteen children were saved that day because one father was faithful.”

Being the father of a 3 year old son, this story really got me thinking and I asked myself the question: “If it were my son in that rubble, would I be standing and crying over the fact that all was gone or would I have been a faithful father like Samuel?”

That begets the question: Do we still have faithful fathers in this generation?

Faithfulness is a virtue that seems to be slowing diminishing in our societies today; fathers who are present and involved with their children are on a much faster decline.

Today many couples are caught up with their own issues and have no time for their children. Divorce is on the increase even as we speak. Some are in the process whilst others are contemplating it. I personally believe that if we pay attention to our children then we can be responsible for building healthier societies in the time to come.

Dr. William Pollock, Harvard psychologist and author of Real Boys concludes that divorce is difficult for children of both sexes but it is devastating for males. He says the basic problem is the lack of discipline and supervision in the father’s absence and his unavailability to teach what it means to be a man. Pollock also believes fathers are crucial in helping boys to manage their emotions. Without the guidance and direction of a father, a boy’s frustration often leads to varieties of violence and other anti social behaviour.” – Taken from ‘Bringing up boys’ by Dr. James Dobson

Where are our fathers?

If we take our roles of being fathers seriously, that is we give guidance and direction, then our children can grow securely and in turn influence other children in the process.

That’s what Samuel did. He was faithful to digging out his own son and in the process saved 13 other children.

There are those times when I am too busy or too drained out after work that I have no time or the mood to sit down to spend time with my son. When I come back home after a long day, I usually know what I want. I want my hot cup of tea and snacks while I spend some time watching a few reruns. I would want to sit on my computer spend time looking through social websites or even play a game. I might meet a few friends if I am up to it. I would want to spend time with my wife asking her how her day went, have dinner and then hit the bed!

I began to think about what my son would feel growing up? Will he have memories of me as a father who was absent or as a father who had no time at all for him?

I agree it’s not an easy thing simply because the demands as a professional and a husband sometimes seem to take priority over the demands of being a father. But I also know that I don’t want my son growing up feeling insecure or not accepted because he didn’t have me present with him helping him to manage his emotions. So how do I do that?

I bottled it down to two words: Priority and sacrifice.

Priority: We need to make our children a priority.
Our schedules are often based on things that matter to us most or on things that are important. The first thing I did was to put it down on my schedule. I decided to make sure that I was at home with my son in the evenings for at least 4 days of the week. So on my calendar, I wrote down ‘home’. I would not arrange to meet anyone on those days and make sure that I was at home with my son and with my family. One day or sometimes two out of the 4, we would go out together as a family.

Sacrifice: We need to sacrifice those things we are pursuing that are not that important.
I am the type of person that does not want to simply lie around doing nothing. I always want to be doing something even in the midst of nothing! I used to be an avid computer gamer. I would play games or sometimes even watch some old reruns. But I decided to sacrifice those things I loved to do because I knew they were not important. I decided to find new things that I could do with my son and enjoy it. The latest one that we engage in is sitting down and coloring the coloring books! Recently I picked up Tinkle comics and was reading it out to him with the pictures. He loved it.

I think when we men as fathers make our children a priority and sacrifice the things that we are pursuing that are not important in the long haul; then we become faithful fathers. As a result in the process we have children that are secure and healthier emotionally. The role that we play as fathers is important and it’s time we stepped up to it.

Update 03/04/2017:
Just saw this video on Instagram that really captures the essence of this whole post!

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  1. Loved reading this post. There are still many dedicated fathers. My father is one and so is my husband.

    1. THanks LS!
      That's amazing to know you've have two men who are so faithful in their roles!

  2. Well-written piece, Danny!


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