Anchoring the Family Chain
"Make no little plans; they have no magic
to stir men's blood." - Daniel H. Burnham
Dennis Rodman and Howard Stern have a lot in common.
- They are both famous.
- They are both rich.
- They are both profane.
- They are both rebellious.
- They are both rude.
- They are both national role models.
- They both appear in public dressed as women.
So what is the explanation for these two adolescents who are trapped in the bodies of men? The explanation for both of them is their father.
Dennis Rodman has not
seen his father in thirty years. His father now lives in the Philippines and has two wives. By those two wives he has fifteen children. But over the years he has fathered a total of twenty-seven children.
According to a recent statement in Newsweek, Philander Rodman Jr. stated his life goal: "I'm shooting for 30."
Here's a man who hasn't seen one of his sons for thirty years but
has set a goal to father thirty children. That certainly helps to explain Dennis Rodman. But what about Howard Stern?
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone,
Stern let his guard down:
I will never have a lot of self-esteem. I don't feel very
good about myself ... I still have an inferiority complex.
The way I was raised my father was always telling me I
was a piece of [expletive], I think I'll go to my grave not
feeling very positive about myself or that I'm very, very
special. My mother used to tell me how special I was.
Every time I hear my mother's voice going, "You're the
most special boy in the world," I hear my father going,
"You [expletive, expletive], you are nothing but a piece
Can you imagine a father talking to a child like that? Now I know why Stern talks to millions of people every
day on the radio like that.
Why did Howard Stern's father talk to him like that? I think that Howard's father talked to him like that because when his father was a young boy his
father talked to him like that. In other words the problem of degrading young boys with poisoned speech in the Stern family probably didn't begin with Howard's father. And it may not have started with his father. It's entirely possible that kind of speech to children has been in the Stern family for generations.
And what about Philander Rodman? Do you think that Dennis Rodman's father came from a home where he saw his father being faithful to his mother? I can't prove this because
I don't have access to the Rodman family genealogy, but I don't think it's too far off the mark to assume that the reason Dennis Rodman hasn't seen his father for thirty years is that his
father wasn't used to seeing his father.
Proverbs 20:7 gets to the heart of the matter: "A righteous man who walks in his integrity - / How blessed
are his sons after him" (emphasis added). Fathers with integrity don't label their children with profane names. And they don't abandon one wife to marry two more.
and Stern have a lot of money and a lot of fame. But they are not blessed men. And the reason they are not blessed, according to Proverbs, is that they had very deficient fathers.
Dennis Rodman and Howard Stern are to be pitied. And the reason they are to be pitied is that they both come from a certain type of family. Both Rodman and Stern come from what
I call "drifting families."
What is a "drifting family"? Well, it's pretty simple. A "drifting family" is a family without an anchor. The father is the anchor of the
family. And when fathers leave or when fathers continually degrade their wives and children, the family begins to drift. When a family begins to drift because it has lost its anchor, it can quickly begin to produce
children who are insecure, self-conscious, emotionally starved, and without a moral compass.
Your Family Chain
Anchors are important. They put them on ships for a reason.
A while back I read a short story about a guy who was sailing with his
girlfriend across the Pacific. Several years prior he had literally sailed away from his wife and children. In the meantime he had found a woman who had also left her family. Both of them had created huge
relational storms in their families. Spouses were thrown overboard and children were left to fend for themselves while these two pursued their personal happiness by sailing off into the sunset.
They were having a wonderful time sailing across the Pacific on his thirty-two-foot boat. Until the typhoon hit.
They were anchored just
one hundred yards off a small, inhabited tract of land in the Marshall Islands when it hit. They knew from listening to the radio that the typhoon was coming, but it appeared that the center of the typhoon would actually pass
about one hundred miles to the north. Unfortunately, the typhoon took a swift turn and suddenly this couple's safe haven was shattered, literally, by winds that were over ninety knots. They thought they would be safe
because they had set two anchors, plus they had a third emergency anchor as a backup. They figured they could just batten down the hatches, make some coffee, and securely ride out the storm in the small lagoon that they had
anchored in. They were wrong.
They were hit full force by the storm. The anchors gave way, they were pulled out to sea, and the towering waves began to systematically
dismantle their craft. They were without anchors and they were without a rudder. They were drifting. And the drifting eventually cost the woman her life.
would have been just fine if they had been on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower
is one of the largest ships in the world. This gigantic aircraft carrier is, from keel to mast, the size of a twenty-two-story building. It has a flight deck that comprises four and one-half acres. It weighs 95,000 tons. It carries over 6,000 sailors and serves those sailors 18,000 meals every day. The USS
Eisenhower is a floating city. Oh, there's one other thing. It also has two anchors.
anchors each weighs 60,000 pounds. Each anchor is attached to a chain that weighs 665,000 pounds and stretches to a full length of 1,082 feet. Just one solitary link in that huge chain weighs 365 pounds.
Every ship has an anchor. That anchor is at the end of a very long series of individual steel links. Each link is joined to another link. And if you trace those links one
by one you'll eventually get to the anchor. It's the anchor that keeps a ship from drifting. It's the anchor that keeps the ship exactly where it needs to be.
That's the way
families are. Every family is one link in a very long chain that stretches out for hundreds and even thousands of years. This chain is so long that it is hard to grasp the enormity of it. For most of us, we are
doing pretty well if we are familiar with the two or three links in the chain that have come immediately before our link.
God knows the importance of family chains because He invented
the family chain. And that's why God puts such importance on each father successfully anchoring his link in the family chain. I'm responsible to take care of my link, and you are responsible to take care of
yours. That's what He want us to do. And He wants us to do it well. There's no doubt that's what He wanted the men of Israel to do. And God used Moses to tell it to the men of Israel straight.
In Deuteronomy 6, the people of Israel are getting ready to go into the promised land after forty years of wandering in the wilderness. They have before them an absolutely
unbelievable opportunity. And that opportunity is to go into the promised land, obey the laws of God, and establish a new civilization and a new culture for their children and all of the generations to come.
Not too many people have the opportunity to start a new civilization. But that's exactly what God was giving to Israel after forty years of wandering in the wilderness. God
gave them a shot at starting over and doing it right. What a monumental opportunity! What an incredible calling!
And the responsibility for this new opportunity for the
nation of Israel is laid squarely on the shoulders of the men. To be more specific, it is laid on the shoulders of the fathers.
Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judg-
ments which the LORD your God has commanded me to
teach you, that you might do them in the land where you
are going to possess it, so that you and your son and
your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep
all His statutes and His commandments, which I command
you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be
prolonged. (Deut. 6:1-2, emphasis added)
It was Ralph W. Sockman who said, "What makes greatness is starting something that will live after you." God gives every father the opportunity to do something great. And it is
the wise man who makes the most of the opportunity.
If you are a father, what will live after you is your children. And then one day they will have children. And then those
children will have children. What we're talking about here is a genealogy.
What is the most boring part of the Bible? What sections of the Bible are guaranteed to put a
red-blooded, American Christian man to sleep faster than any other section of the Bible? Hands down, it's the genealogies. What could be more boring than reading a biblical genealogy at six in the morning?
Let me offer you something to chew on. Genealogies aren't boring. They are fascinating. If Fed Ex were to deliver by 10:30 tomorrow morning your family genealogy for the
last fifteen hundred years, I guarantee you that you would be up until 10:30 the next morning poring over it. Genealogies aren't boring. What's boring is reading someone else's genealogy.
Genealogies are in the Bible for a reason. And when you dig into them,
they are anything but boring. The reason that genealogies are so fascinating is that genealogies contain the secret of having a significant and meaningful life. Let me bottom-line this. A genealogy is nothing but a long list of guys who were sons and then eventually became fathers. So what is a genealogy? A genealogy is a lineup card. A
very long lineup card.
Before every major-league baseball game, the managers meet at home plate and give the umpires their lineup cards. The manager lets the opposing
manager and the umpires know who's going to be playing what position and he also let's them know in what order they will be batting.
A genealogy is a lineup card of fathers. And
here's the scoop on every father who is in the genealogical lineup. Either he anchored his father or he didn't.
Generally speaking, if a father anchors his family in Christ, then
the odds go up dramatically that his sons will anchor their families. But when he decides he knows better than God and starts living to please only himself, that's when a family begins to drift. America has millions of
families that are drifting. Why are they drifting? They are drifting because they have no anchor.
When God changes a nation and brings revival, one of the primary things He
does is to get ahold of some fathers and turn them into anchors. And in our day of crisis, in our day of a fatherless America, that's precisely what God is up to. God knows who His men are. He knows where they are
and He knows who they are. And He knows how to strongly support them.
Anchor Man by Steve Farrar. Published by: Thomas Nelson Publishers, ©1998.