Dad Doesn’t Have Time
By Bill Shepard
The car I was driving was headed in the direction of the school where I was employed as a teacher. The time was out of a time long past. Sitting by my side was my wife, also a teacher at the same school, sitting in the back seat of the car were our three children, all headed to the same school. We felt fortunate that we were able to all be at the same school each day. When the day ended, we would travel back home together. We felt that we were a blessed family in that we were together for so much of that time.
We never engaged in the social activities of the school. I never gave thought that the children might like to take part in any of those activities. I was a busy church pastor and that meant that we were in church every Sunday morning and night and then on Wednesday nights. Often, there were folk in my church that were in need of a visit from their pastor, due to sickness or other problems. At this particular time of which I write, my church was a good 30-mile-drive from my home. Much time was spent driving to and from my church. On each occasion, the entire family was along. We were indeed a busy family on the move. I was considered to be a good teacher and pastor, and on my way to a successful career in both fields of labor. I never gave thought to the ambitions and desires of the other members of my household. Of course, I never heard any complaints from them!
Early one spring morning, we were on our way to school; our usual day had begun. The two small boys that lived near us and often visited had made a visit on the day before. It seemed that the boys and their dad had been on a fishing trip the day before. They were sharing their experience with my boys. As we drove along our way, I overheard a conversation that has caused me regrets many times since. The younger of my two sons was speaking, “I wish Daddy would take us fishing sometime.” The older of the two spoke, “Don’t ask Daddy to take us fishing, he doesn’t have time, he’s too busy.”
My heart ached inside me; the words too busy and doesn’t have time cut deeply inside me and played over and over in my mind. I saw my selfish self. I had neglected my own children while following my own ambitions on the road to success! That one line, “Daddy doesn’t have time” had found their target.
When school ended that day, I went straight to town. I purchased a cane fishing pole for each member of my family and the supplies needed. In the following weeks, we became a fishing family at least one afternoon a week. When summer came and school was out, we visited a nearby lake for a time of fishing and togetherness. Beautiful memories were made and now the children are grown and have families of their own, but I hold the memories that warm my heart when they appear.
What about you, Dad? You that are reading this. Are you spending enough time with your children? It has been said that the American fathers spend an average of 12 minutes a day with their children! Reason? Too busy. Could that be the reason that so many children are reported as going astray? If you are too busy, don’t wait until you hear those words from one of your own. Hear them now! If you are too busy for time with your children, you are too busy!
Happy Father’s Day!
I get to thinking a lot of times,
About back when I was a lad,
Of the place I lived with my brothers and sisters,
And about my Mom and my Dad.
I think of the place where I grew up,
The small house by the railroad track,
Of the boys and girls who’d come to our home,
It seemed there was never a lack
My dad had a pig and sometimes a cow,
And chickens we always had,
My oldest brother had a dog and I had a cat,
And that’s about all we had!
My dad worked hard in the cotton mill,
And he never had much time for fun,
But I was always glad when the whistle would blow
And I would know my dad’s work was done.
He’d come home, all tired from his work,
And his clothes would be wringing wet,
And I’d climb on his knee and hug his neck,
You see, I was my daddy’s pet.
He worked hard, my dad, for the things he got,
But patience was a virtue he had,
And he took life’s bangs with an even stride,
And smile with the good and bad.
He never had much of this world’s goods,
Never acquired much wealth or fame,
But throughout the village where he lived,
People respected his name.
He was true to his word, as people should be,
He was honest as the days were long,
He owed no man, although he was poor,
And he faced life’s troubles with a song.
He left to his children no silver nor gold,
For wealth seemed to pass him by,
But he left far more in the example he set,
The life he lived before our eyes.
My dad’s not here, he’s long been gone,
But his memory still lingers near,
And I cherish the moments we shared on this earth,
And seldom a day I don’t wish he was here.
He’s gone the way that all men must go,
But his life was very well spent,
And I pray each day as I go on my way,
That in Heaven someday we shall meet.
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week. His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C. 29673.