In the movie The Rookie, Dennis Quaid portrays real-life baseball pitcher Jim Morrison. Morrison has a supportive wife, loving kids, and the ability to follow his dream of playing in the major league. What he doesn’t have is his father’s approval and support.

Morrison eventually is called up to the majors and, after his first game, encounters his dad in a hallway as he’s leaving the locker room. In the emotionally charged meeting they share few words. Eventually, Morrison is able to say, “Thanks for coming.”

His dad proudly replies, “I wasn’t missing this one.”

Morrison’s father is admitting to his son that he missed too many moments in his life because of things that, at the time, seemed more important.

Ballgames, proms, recitals, pageants, or school programs . . . inevitably we’ll miss some events, but we certainly should make great effort to show our kids how important they are to us. We may have times when we can’t be there, but those times should, to the best of our ability, be the exception. The Psalms say children are a gift of the Lord. Paul encourages fathers in Ephesians 6:4 to “bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (ESV).”

I am privileged to have been raised by godly parents. Every day ended with Bible reading and prayer. Reflecting back to my childhood, I appreciate all the times my father was there for me: camping trips, class field trips, fishing lessons, etc. For my wife and me, one of the most important signs of our steady commitment to our children was our decision to end each day with family devotions, as we raised our three precious girls. I can still easily recall their favorite Bible stories.

In the recent Sherwood Pictures movie Fireproof, Caleb (played by Kirk Cameron) and his dad (played by me) have a strong relationship. Because of it, Caleb knows he can count on his dad. His dad knows when his son needs him and does whatever it takes to be there.

Later, when Caleb’s marriage is in trouble, his father listens by phone, he drives across the state, and he asks hard questions. He allows his son to vent, to question, and even to disagree with him. He counsels his son on becoming a godly husband through following biblical advice, laid out in a 40-day journal, The Love Dare. In the end, Caleb’s marriage is restored because a father made the sacrifices necessary to lead his son to the cross. Isn’t that where we want to lead all our children . . . to embrace the cross of Christ, our Creator and Redeemer?

Dr. Harris Malcom recently played the part of John Holt in the popular movie, Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron. A longtime pastor in southern Georgia, he now serves as a ministry resource consultant for the Georgia Baptist Convention.

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