Chuck Terrill: A little more time with dad

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

"Cat's in the Cradle" is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin.

Most of you will recall that it is about a father who was much too busy to interact with his son. The song was popular when my oldest son was a boy. Chris would simply say to me, “Cat’s in the Cradle” when he felt like I was neglecting him. I knew exactly what he meant.


A preacher’s life can be a hectic life. There are many places to go, and many people to see. Weekdays are filled with hospital calls, shut-ins, and nursing home visitation. There are evening counseling appointments. Emergency calls necessitate leaving home even in the middle of the night. Even weekends are consumed with weddings or funerals on Saturday, and church services all day Sunday.

I heard my son say, “Cat’s in the Cradle” a number of times.   

If you were to ask a child if she could describe a “good daddy,” you might be surprised at the description. She might respond: “Helps me catch a fish. Will Fly a kite with me. Gets my kitty out of the mud.” 

It is likely that nothing the child responds will have anything to do with money. He might say, “Teaches me to build a campfire. Plays catch with me. Takes me to the zoo.”

What children want and need is a little time with their father. Not all fathers have the same amount of income. Fathers differ in their areas of skill and expertise. But all fathers are alike in that they have the same 24 hours in every calendar day. Our responsibility to share time with our children is the same.   

Beyond the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, what our children need most is a little time with dad. We might lavish other gifts on our children to the point that we could spoil them rotten. But a father has given nothing of real value to his child until he has given himself.   

A father who will not invest himself in the lives of his children today will be the forgotten father of tomorrow. As Father’s Day approaches, make a plan to give your kids a special Father’s Day gift. Spend some time with them. Children, take some time and spend it with your dad.  

“A child’s glory is his father” (Proverbs 17:6). 

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.