Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast

In 1972, Wayne Newton released a song about a man preparing to leave his marriage.  As he walked down the highway toward a new life, he heard his daughter crying out as she ran after him, “Daddy, don’t you walk so fast.”  It has occurred to me that many men are outpacing their children.

Per the song, some men decide that the love-affairs with their wives have died and, thus, the relationships are no longer worth the effort.  They figure it is easier to bail than to work on the coupling what with less crow to eat and all.  So, things are bad and they decide to leave, not realizing they are losing valuable gifts from God and crippling their progeny.  Children are left to wander aimlessly being unable to keep up with the man on the run.

Many men will not realize that in running from responsibilities they are actually running from themselves.  I try not to be too hard of folks in difficult relationships because I know there are many sides to each equation.  The simple answers may be true but insufficient final solutions to the dilemmas.  Children will be confronted with harsh choices they are unable to divine at the time and should never have to face.

The thing is, dad may find a new thing and mom a new fling, but the children will not find new parents.  I say this with great appreciation for foster families and those making the most of blended situations.  God bless each of them, and we should all be thankful for God’s grace and provision.  However, this does not erase the plain truth that some parents move through their lives and loves so quickly that their children, only just learning to walk, are forced to run.

With sadness, I admit that I sped through life when it would have been in my best interests to pace myself.  I did that as a runner in my youth.  While I never lost my children or my wife, there are days I wish I could relive lost moments.  Many things that seem urgent are not seen as such in the rear-view mirror.  Occasionally, people will guilt us into making poor choices, but it is more common to make them of our own volition.  Our kids didn’t have much say in roads taken.

Daddy, don’t you walk so fast.  Your family can’t keep up.  Having seen many listless souls, it is against my nature to sniff roses.  After all, there’s a heaven to gain.  I’ll rest then.  If Jesus told me to rest (as He did the disciples), I might obey but would probably feel guilty about it.  That’s the curse of the obsessive compulsive and the mark of Cain for some of us.  Life may delegate haste, but keep your family in sight.

My work in the pastorate and various teaching fields has convinced me that a child’s greatest need is that of a positive male role model.  This is true for girls, as well as, boys.  In so saying, I am not diminishing motherhood without which all would be lost, but multitudes of moms would join me in the call for decent dads.

A man’s tendency to be task-oriented can be a fine thing in proportion.  We will not realize, however, the true reward of our deeds until they are beyond redress.  Children can become afterthoughts in the rush for realization.  If it is for the sake of your kids, slow down some.


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