Earlier this year I was contacted by Stuart Barlo from Lismore. He asked if I would come and speak at the inaugural district Lismore Man Day Conference. Stuart has been receiving our weekly Dads4Kids newsletter to encourage dads for almost ten years. He has been reading the jokes for all that time, and still gets a laugh, which I think is good news. I was humbled by the invitation, so after accepting, I began to prayerfully consider what I should say.
Stuart recorded a video of me for promo purposes while he was in my area in late May. In this video I aim for a high standard for men, but as W. Clement Stone said,
“Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.
The first part of what I said was,
“You as a man have the ability to shape the destiny of not only your children and family, your loved ones, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren, but you have the ability to shape the destiny of your city”.
As the cartoon character Daffy Duck says, “Thems fighting woids”.
However, I’m not the only person to say such things. Dana Vale said,
“Mothers give nurture and fathers provide identity”.
Let me add something to Dana’s quote. “Identity produces destiny”, or a Heraclitus said in 500 BC, “Character produces Destiny”. Perhaps it was James Allen who really nailed the power of men to create a destiny when he said,
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny”.
When men discover their own destiny they automatically pass it on to those around them.
It was with all this in mind that I went to get a haircut. After all, if you are going to change the world you have to look good – right?
So I asked my hairdresser, who specialises in cutting men’s hair, what four things she thought I should say to the men of Lismore. I figured because she spent her whole life talking to men, she might be able to help me with my message.
This is what she told me to tell the men at the Lismore Man Day:
- Be true to yourself
- Be honest
- Love others like you’d like to be loved
- Love God
My hairdresser doesn’t go to church, but she is a pretty spiritual woman and like a lot of women she possesses an amazing intuition. We discussed the reverse of point three which is if you hate yourself (some people do) that means you will probably hate everyone else. A certain amount of self love is critical and true and healthy self love is measured in a great way through the love a child receives from his or her father or the lack thereof.
Interestingly a lot of what she said related to what I wanted to talk about anyway. Thank God for perceptive hairdressers!
The guys at the Lismore Man Day had made it easy for me as they had constructed a really good vision statement. Having clearly defined goals is good. If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there. This is what it said:
“The team at the Lismore Man Day have a heart and vision to engage, unite, activate and build men under Christ.
We have a passion to see all men of Godly character and integrity accepting the responsibility God has placed upon us as men, husbands and fathers; in our families, churches and communities.”
For those on the journey to know oneself, we must first come to grips with our maker. Destiny and faith are intertwined. Herodotus was right to say,
“The destiny of man is in his soul”. As Albert Einstein (1879-1955) said, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humbled”.
Only last week a headline went out from Einstein’s birthplace in Germany through De Spiegel, “Scientists Prove the Existence of God”. So now it is official. The originator of the theorem which forms the basis for the German scientist’s proof of God came from Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) who was a friend of Einstein. It was Einstein who said,
“We are in the position of a child entering a huge library with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being to God.”
We as men must all come to grips with God. To do so we must become a child again as Jesus said. Our children have so much to teach us if we let them.
So, we are all men of destiny. And yes, it is true as William Jennings Bryan says,
“Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited on but a thing to be achieved.” It is also that the gift ‘to achieve’ comes from above and so we must consider the words of Ravi Zacharias, “There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny”.
Teach your children to pray, then listen to them and learn from them. As Einstein said, we must “never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born”. Then put what you learn from your children into practice and make a choice. This is how we will become men of destiny.
Yours for more curious children