June 12, 2012: Fathers and Bristol Palin’s fatherless family

Posted on : Jun 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Shortly after President Obama announced his support for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, Bristol Palin responded with these words:

“While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”

What The Heck, Bristol?

Fact:  Bristol has a son with her ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston, but the two were never married and Bristol says that Levi is not part of the child’s life.

Is Bristol Palin just downright stupid or is something else at play here?  Here’s what I think happened.   Bristol just parroted something she has heard over and over again without even thinking about it.  Clearly she condemned herself more than anyone else.  She spoke without thinking.  Only this time, the absurdity of what she said really was self condemning.

It’s not how many parents you have or what their genders are that makes a family.  LOVE makes a family.  It’s just that plain and simple.

One time when we were trying to find an appropriate Church School curriculum for use with our kids, I tried to explain the diversity of families we have here at WeHo UCC.  I finally said, “It’s similar to Noah’s Ark, we have one of every family configuration known.”  We have married mom and dad families with kids.  We have not married mom and dad families with kids.  We have divorced moms with kids.  We have lesbian moms with kids.  We have coupled gay dads with kids, we have single gay dads with kids.  We have lesbian grandmothers who raised their kid’s kids.   We have multi-racial families and we have mono-racial families.  We have families with adopted kids and families where the birth moms are the moms.  We have families formed by donor-dads and families formed by birth dads.”  The person I told this to looked a little overwhelmed and finally said, “I don’t think there is a church school curriculum for your church.”  OK, so we’re a little more inclusive than the average church school curriculum.

Diverse as we are, WE ARE a closer match to Biblical families than the so-called “traditional” monolithic family configuration.  However, beyond that, the one thing that makes our families so special here is that each of our kids is so deeply loved by their parent or parents.  We are truly blessed with a bunch of awesome kids that are growing up, or have grown up, within this congregation.   Statistically, many of those kids, especially our adopted kids, would not “turn out” the fabulous way they all have, were it not for the fact that they were adopted into loving families.  The magic here is that each of these kids has been unconditionally loved – and not just loved by a mom or dad or moms and dads but by a whole community of loving people.  It doesn’t matter what kind of family configuration they are raised in, what matters is that they are loved and encouraged to become the fullness of who they are.

As we approach father’s day, here’s my take on it.  I am one of the luckiest guys in the world.  I had a great father and a great relationship with my father.  I know that is not true for an awful lot of men.   But it is for me.  From the time I was very little up to the time of his death, my dad and I were very close.  I feel totally blessed by that.

If you’re a Dad, love your kids.  If you’re not a Dad, love somebody else’s kids.  No matter who they are, no kid can ever have enough loving people in their lives.

The joy of being a father is parenting God’s children. Children are a heritage from God.

Psalm 127:3

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