Tuesday, March 17, 2015
My nephew, Seth, recently began his third Middle East deployment. It is tough on his wife and two kiddos. This piece, from March 8, 2007, is how some families try to cope with the father's absence.
I saw it on the news yesterday, a little human interest story about a family separated by the fighting in Iraq. A young North Carolina mother is keeping the image of her military husband alive in the consciousness of her fifteen month old son through the ingenious use of Flat Daddy. A life size cut-out of the child's father in military gear is in constant vision of the toddler. They even showed a clip of daddy, strapped into a backseat, riding with mom and son on an automobile excursion. The mother reinforces the likeness of her spouse with his recorded voice in an attempt to maintain a connection between father and son. Conceived by a Maine National Guard soldier, Flat Daddies are available to military families free of charge, produced by a Toledo, Ohio firm. Lord willing, Julie Malmborg and son Evan will welcome the real daddy home from the war in July. On that joyous day, Flat Daddy can blessedly retire to wherever cardboard cut-outs go when they outlive their usefulness. Paper will be replaced by flesh and blood and flat will become three dimensional. Evan doesn't know his numbers yet but his mother is counting the days.
I like what Julie Malmborg and others are doing with Flat Daddies. Of course, its effectiveness is dependent on the age of the children who are missing their parent. No teen could be convinced the one dimensional likeness is dad but a little one would have no trouble in accepting the explanation. I tell my students that I believe the scriptures present information in ways we can understand, especially about the afterlife. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus portrays the two main characters as having physical bodies while other Bible verses indicate substantial change in our new existence. Maybe Jesus is making it understandable for us. I hate to use the term dumbing it down but it's in vogue to describe teaching in a way that everyone can comprehend. In 1st Corinthians 13, mentions are made of mirrors and poor reflections in our present vision capabilities. Twice in Hebrews, the writer uses the term shadow in speaking of the sanctuary and the law, promising something much better would replace them in the future time where there is no time. A baby can't distinguish between a cardboard papa and the one who helped give him/her life. The time is coming when that distinction will be evident to little Evan and others who must be satisfied with their present level of paternal proximity. As Christians, our time is coming as well. I can't wait; I have alot of questions!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father."
Lydia M. Child
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:38 PM