Last night’s lesson at FORUM INTERAKTIV (I love that name) was a pretty interesting one. I couldn’t help but think of Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s In The Cradle” as we discussed David’s great failures as a parent.
We explored the idea that David may have been paralyzed by his own guilt and shame, not able to ever get beyond his infidelity with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, her husband.
For whatever reason, we know from 1 Kings 1:6 as well as the entire story of his latter years, that David did not discipline his children appropriately. His son Solomon, learned, like many of us do, how not to do things.
It was he who penned: “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”– Proverbs 13:24. Jesus said in Revelation 3:19: “‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline” -it’s repeated, so it’s a lesson that is obviously important for us to learn.
At any rate, David raised (using the term lightly) a rapist, murderer, and a bunch of self centered and rebellious kids. There is one exchange between David and his son Absalom that I want to highlight that speaks volumes about how this can happen.
Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, we should not all go, for we will be burdensome to you.” Although he urged him, he would not go, but blessed him. –2 Samuel 13:24,25
Absalom was, at this point, festering with bitterness for two years over the rape of his sister. David had an opportunity to spend some time with his son. But he had excuses why that wouldn’t work. Absalom urged him to no avail. Chapin’s song says: “Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”.
Dads, what do you have to do that is more important than investing time with your children?
David put off his son because it would have been a hassle. Absalom ended up having his brother murdered at this event. I wonder how things would have gone if David had spent time with his son, to have known what was in his heart to do. They ended up estranged for the rest of their lives because David, though he longed to have a relationship with him, was never willing to do what it took to make that happen. Absalom, in turn, died an untimely and tragic death, adding to the shame that was the hallmark of David’s failed fatherhood.
There are many, many, lessons here, as far as David’s failures go, I just wanted to highlight this one.
Parents, make time for your children, and don’t let your own failures trap you in shame, use them as lessons for others.