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Help The Fatherless Learn How To Navigate Life

Help The Fatherless Learn How To Navigate Life

Posted by Kenny Vaughan on 25th May 2020

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Every year, between Memorial Day, when we honor fallen soldiers, and July Fourth, when we celebrate our freedom--tens of thousands of fatherless children of fallen soldiers, mark Father’s Day without an earthly navigator. I believe all of us should do all we can to seek out and support the Gold Star Children in our communities and other fatherless children, struggling to find their way without a father to help them learn to navigate life.

When I was growing up, my mom and dad were commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. Dad was a master of his instruments because he knew at times our lives would depend on his ability to get us home if a storm blew in or something went wrong.

Those years created an awareness in me that parents can either show their children how to navigate through life or they can just send them out to sea, without proper instruction, to get lost or run out of fuel before they can get back safely to shore.
I was about 10 years old, when I learned from my dad my biggest lesson on navigating. We were out to sea, about 100 miles off shore when an advection fog sat in on us. An advection fog won't burn off with the sun. When that kind of dense fog sets in, it’s there to stay until the wind changes, which can take hours or sometimes days.

Dad’s plan was to head northwest until he could cross into the ship channel. The ship channel was long enough he knew he wouldn't miss it. The ocean floor was only about 30 feet deep near the channel and the channel was 50 feet deep, so he planned to let his depth finder guide him. He figured it would take about two hours to get to the channel. Then the plan was to weave back and forth on the edge of the ship channel watching the depth finder to keep us on the edge of the ship channel, and watching the compass to keep us heading to shore and not further out to sea. Dad knew it would take about three hours to approach the end of the jetties.

As time passed, it felt like we were going out to sea, not back to shore. Sometimes it felt like we were going in circles. We were all telling Dad he was going the wrong way, based on what we felt. Dad agreed he felt the same way, but he trusted his compass and his depth finder, and he stayed the course. After 3 1/2 hours had passed, everyone but my dad was convinced that we were about 200 miles off shore, navigating in an outgoing current. The boat was almost out of fuel.

Then, finally, through a slight break in the fog, we saw the jetties.

That’s how I learned how untrustworthy feelings can be, and how the truth will never steer you wrong. Following our feelings would have lead us to death at sea, but following the truth of those instruments put us two miles inside the jetties, before we could even see them or know we were there.

My father’s stubborn faith in what he knew was truth, in that dangerous fog, saved our lives, and taught me everything about navigating through the ocean and through life.

I hope all of us will teach the same to our children and help teach the children of the fatherless, especially the fatherless of the fallen, who have lost their families’ navigators in service to this country. We should make the time and effort. It’s what you and I can do for our country and our communities all year, every year.

Laus Deo,