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The Day Johnny Skywalker Came to Town

Karin Steyn
 


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His father passed away when he was four and a half years old. He grew up without a father. So he started watching the men around him. It became years of studying them to eventually become like them.

He learnt that men talked roughly . . . worked roughly . . . drank roughly . . . handled women roughly . . . and that is what he became: rough and tough. He moved to the other side of the country, joined the police force and felt at home amongst the men. They were exactly what he was. Later he started experimenting with drugs. At first it was innocent fun. But the choice he made had consequences and his eventual drug addiction cost him US$2 237.00 per month.

It was at the coast that he decided to end his life. A man stopped next to his vehicle and his attention was focused on a little girl playing on the beach. The man whistled and from somewhere a dog came running. The little girl turned round and, upon seeing her father, started running towards him with outstretched hands of joy. She was small and, like small children sometimes do, she stumbled and fell. Her father picked her up and comforted her. The truth was borne to Johnny and he realized for the first time in his life what it was that he had been searching for his whole life. His life was complicated and filled with chaos. And all he really yearned for was the simplicity of a father's love. He finally understood why his life had been one of so many miserable choices and turned to God for help.

The story Johnny Skywalker brought to town just made me realize once again how important a father's role in the family structure is. My father was an alcoholic. His involvement in my life as a child was wanting. I grew up with a man that lived in the same house as the rest of my family, but he was a stranger to me. I never spoke to him and if he asked any questions, I was filled with anxiety and kept my answers short.

Fathers pass away. Fathers abandon their families. Fathers live with their families but remain uninvolved in the lives of their children. Why? Perhaps their attention is caught up in the world in an effort of making a living and trying to be successful, or living their own selfish and addicted lives. Do they hope that their children will understand their situation or do they not care? It takes a lot of effort to satisfy a child's needs, whether the needs are emotional, mental or spiritual. And effort requires time.

Many men strive to be better fathers simply because their own fathers weren't there for them. They try to make up for their own emotional loss by being involved in their children's lives. These fathers help their children who then seem more balanced than those without a father in their lives. But being a father requires more than emotional and mental support. A father should be a spiritual role model for his children. He should spend spiritual time with his children, teaching them about the Bible and God. He should teach his children that they have one physical father and a heavenly Father.

Children learn through the examples that their parents set. Setting a good example requires great effort. The best thing in trying to set a good example is to humbly admit to their children that imperfection makes it difficult, but that they will continue trying to be a good parent. Children will remember for a good many years the efforts that were made.

Yes, Johnny Skywalker came to town. He called himself a simple man with a simple story. But it was a story worth listening to.

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