“I won,” said Papa Sammy.  Six-year-old Pete sat sad faced. Not only had he lost but he lost by 28 Uno cards!  He quietly and thoughtfully said, “Can I call my Dad?”  Call his Dad!  Pete lost the game but he had someone to whom he could turn – father of love, patience, security.

But what about that grandfather?   Now some would say Papa should have overlooked some good moves, or pretended to not see Pete’s errors and somehow fudged the books to make Pete the winner.  But Papa was building a foundation upon which Pete could “man-up” for the times life will deal  him a hard blow.

I can be sure Pete’s dad was warm and tender or he would not be the one Pete wanted to turn to when things were rough.  And Papa did serve an important purpose in teaching Pete that hard times come.  Such is life.  Some time ago I saw a picture of a soldier in Iraq.  He had on his full military regalia – weapons to kill – people.  Yet he was stooped down, petting a kitten.  Such a man, tough and tender.

It takes a wise man, a man of integrity to be able to exhibit love, patience, goodness, gentleness as well as maintain the traits of authority, determination, persistence, and power.

Consider these tough and tender situations:

The doctor who removes a leg to save a life.

The father who spanks his toddler to teach him not to go out the door.

The man who pays his creditors as he can in spite of the fact that he has had to claim bankruptcy.

The president who makes tough decisions for the safety of the nation – decisions not based upon popularity.

The aged husband who still lovingly cares for his wife who hasn’t recognized him for seven years.  He is still postponing the day he has to put her in a care facility.

Life does deal a rough and heavy load sometimes, and men often take the hero route.  Let’s take a look at some heros.

1.  Young men who fight on foreign soil for freedom at a home to which they may never return.

2.  Young fathers who sign on for the long haul, stick tight when the going gets rough, holding back tears and fears to play the hero for their children.

3.  Middle aged men who work two jobs to give their kids designer boots and send them on mission trips.

4.  Old men who work in Walmart so wives can have a little extra and they can leave their savings to the kids.

5.  Men who manage little league teams and staff summer camps.

6.  Men who run the fire brigades, pick up from tornadoes, put sand on icy doorsteps, and mow their neighbor’s yards

7.  Police who continue to challenge in order to protect rather than turn a blind eye to evil.

8.  Coaches who do not sell out for the sake of a game, but stick tight to building men.

Men have vision.  The longer I live on my acre, the more I grieve over not planting more perennials – I wish I had planted more of them.  We’ve lived at the same place for almost twenty years.  Think of the perennial garden I could have had.  This year I planted some perennials.  Some are blooming now; others won’t bloom until next year.  I’ve heard that lilacs take seven years to bloom so I haven’t planted any.   That’s like a woman!  My hat’s off to men, they may never write a diary but they will plant oak trees that they know they will never sit under.





About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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14 Responses to TOUGH AND TENDER – Fathers

  1. Salvageable says:

    Lovely essay! I am like Papa Sammy. I taught my son how to play chess, and I assured him that I would always play my best game against him. The first time he beat me, he actually outplayed me. Now he wins much more often that I do–I’m very proud of his ability. J.

  2. vronlacroix says:

    Wonderful and just tribute.

  3. 49lilykatz says:

    Thanks for the Father’s Day tribute. I will miss my Dad and my husband forever.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Oh, my. What a loss – a husband and a dad both. My dad passed away when I was 43; he was 63. Much too young for us to have to give him up. He is part of my hope through the ages!

  4. Faye says:

    Wonderful and beautifully expressed tribute. Thank you.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Faye, I am just realizing that I do not know very much about your family. You seem to be very secure in your relationship with the Heavenly Father; that often comes about by a secure relationship with one’s own father. That is my view only, since that is my experience. I’m sure many women would testify that the Lord has fulfilled their needs in wonderful ways where their earthly fathers failed them. Somehow he has a way to make each of us feel we have the best deal with Him!

  5. dawnlizjones says:

    So important to teach kids how to properly “deal with real life”. Hats off to Sammie!!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, dawnliz, I agree. I think we have removed so much satisfaction from the lives of children by taking away the challenge of competition. That seems to be the way public schools are going. I object! Not that I want any child to feel incapable of being a winner, but I do believe a teacher or parent can find a challenge for everyone that can give them the experience of being an over-comer. I’m glad I didn’t have to be a winner of a beauty contest or an athletic event to be a winner. And almost anybody can be a winner of a “Quiet Bee” contest.

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