Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday Reflections on Fatherhood, Tim Russert

Sunday was Father's Day. Sadly, one of the great fathers and propropents of fatherhood, Tim Russert, died last Friday. Russert was one of my favorite political commentators. As the head of NBC news division and host of Meet the Press, Russert was one of the most influential men in our nation. I liked the fact that he was tough on all politicians, asking real questions. But he always did this without being mean-spirited.

Russert wrote two books on fatherhood in the last few years. The first, Big Russ and me, tells the story of his relationship with his father. This personal story had unexpected success, becoming a New York Times bestseller. Tim received 60,000 letters from people who told the story of their own fathers, and he compiled many of these in the book Wisdom of Our Fathers. Tim not only loved his father, but he loved his son, and himself sought to be a good father.

On Sunday, I weaved Russert's life throughout the sermon, talking about how good fathers are hard workers, providers, disciplinarians, encouragers, and lovers of children.

Fatherhood is so little appreciated today. This was one of the reasons I so appreciated Russert. Despite his incredible work ethic and ability, he always said that his family came before his work. His joy for family, people, and life will be missed as much as his incredible mind.

At the end of the sermon, I encouraged fathers to tell their children that they loved them, and vice versa. Russert died at the age of 58--too short a time. If you have not said these words recently to your father or to your children, there is no better time than now. We may not get another chance.

Why do you think fathers and fatherhood are not held in higher esteem in today's world? What do you think are important characteristics of good fathers?


Chelf said...

The lack of esteem for fathers comes from the efforts to equate men and women. The movements to assert women over men have degraded the authority fathers used to have. And now-a-days, you also have the children believing they know more than their parents. All of which assumes that fathers are dolts, when in fact they are God's designated familial shepherds.

Anonymous said...

Fatherhood has been under attack daily on tv sitcoms. Dads are always presented as stupid, lazy, and inept. This preception seeps into all facets of our society. However, this is only one reason.

God holds men to a much higher standard of conduct. Being a father is a lifetime commitment. Russert was a very good example of what a father should be today.

Zack said...

Obviously I never knew Mr. Russert, but I admire him already. I love my dad so much. He taught me work ethic, love for God and His Word, and love for sports.
God bless you James.
Grace and Peace.

James said...

Chelf and our anonymous friend--you make a good point about how fathers are portrayed in the media. A show named "Father Knows Best" would today itself be a punchline. I guess I'm okay with guys being kind of dumb for comedy. It is not evil. But it is true that the times where fatherhood is portrayed in a positive light are few. That is why Russert was so refreshing.

James said...


Fathers are more than a paycheck. As you point out, they have a tremendous teaching role.