Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, May 14, 2005

To fill a braindead evening recently, Diane and I watched "In Good Company." (As always, please refer to screenit.com to make decisions about whether you want to watch a movie or not.) While it isn't a great movie, it's more than we thought. Based on the commercials we'd seen, we thought it was primarily a comedy about a young executive falling in love with the college-age daughter of one of the men working under him--a man twice his age whose place he took at the top of the firm. But it isn't really about the young exec (Topher Grace) and the student (Scarlett Johansson). It's about how this high-octane, 26-year-old man who was never really parented winds up being fathered by this older man (Dennis Quaid). There's a scene where Quaid hugs him that is the highlight of the movie. Everyone needs to be fathered (and mothered). For many, this doesn't happen with their biological dad. Some never knew their dads; others rarely saw them; and still others had dads who themselves hadn't been fathered and didn't have much to give. But there are other older men who can provide some of this fathering -- even later in life. I'm thinking especially of godly men who can model respect, responsibility, and faith. Men who teach school, coach little league, volunteer for the band trips, teach the high school class at church, work with the Scouts, etc. As I sneak up on 50 (in fourteen months and eleven days!), I realize that there are younger men all around who need affirmation, encouragement, and guidance. I think you can't go around volunteering to be someone's "other dad" or "other mom," but when the opportunity is there you'll know it. It's an amazing thing, but one hug, one note, one word of encouragement can change a life. To receive a blessing from an older man or woman is a great gift. In the movie, the young exec realizes that he is on the fast track to emptiness. But he sees in this older man a person who is grounded, a man who deeply loves his family and is loyal to friends. By the end of the film, you realize it wasn't the beautiful blonde he needed in his life. It was her father. So blessings on you this weekend -- those of you who have become like moms and dads or like grandmas and grandpas in the lives of others.


  • Mike,

    Thank you for the movie review! I will rent it tonight.

    "Father hunger" is a prominent theme in movies and life. There is a great chapter in the book, ONE HOLY HUNGER, which addresses this issue. The author closes the chapter with this challenge:

    "We are living in a time when "father hunger" seems like a national epidemic. No human father can ever provide us with all we need. Even the best can't give us the leadership, affection, protection, and unconditional acceptance we crave.

    This God-given hunger will continue until we realize that God is the ultimate good Father for whom we desperately search. It is only in him that we can find our self-esteem and significance. We will be forever searching, forever restless until we rest in him!"

    By Blogger David Michael, at 5/14/2005 06:28:00 AM  

  • Great post Mike. My 17 year old son brought home a young man in just such a need. He had been badly abused by his "real dad" most of his life. He ended up staying with us and attending church and the high school Bible class I teach. Two weeks ago, he made his confession and commitment to our Father! What an awesome journey, and blessing for all involved!

    By Blogger Jim, at 5/14/2005 07:02:00 AM  

  • You're so very right, Mr. Cope! Thanks for putting this idea out in writing so I can pass it along to my friends.

    Personally, I don't think a person must have an "absent" dad in order to experience the blessing of an "other dad" (or mom). But, as you said, it is especially touching when this individual can act AS the dad, since the "real" dad is absent.

    And yes, you are so right in that one can't go around wearing a sign that says "Other Dad Available Here," however, some simply know all too well, like you said, the power of one hug, one note, one word of encouragement. One that comes to mind to me was Charles Trevathan. He definitely represented the "other dad" or the "other grandpa" or for that matter the "other best friend" for those who had voids needing to be filled in any of those areas.

    I haven't seen "In Good Company," but this same scenario rings out loud in "Million Dollar Baby," which I saw for my fourth time just last night. Now THAT'S a GREAT movie and will get a person thinking!

    Thanks for these thoughts for the day!

    Take care!

    By Blogger FeedingYourMind, at 5/14/2005 08:08:00 AM  

  • Karen and Jack Rich did that for me, and I'll be forever grateful to them for the influence they had on my life. I got all teary-eyed just now thinking about how much I miss them and their family and how many great times we had together. Karen, I figure you'll read this, so know I love and miss you and will see you soon!

    By Blogger Melanie Knox, at 5/14/2005 11:13:00 AM  

  • What a timely message.

    We live in a culture in which many prominent feminists are putting forth the idea that fathers are unimportant and unnecessary. Look at the sitcoms on TV. With few exceptions, fathers are portrayed as clueless buffoons who would ruin everything if left to their own devices.

    Yes, the importance of fatherhood needs to be preached today. Thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Lucinda Ross, at 5/14/2005 11:32:00 AM  

  • I completely agree Mike. I've got great parents, but they live in Abilene and I live in Dallas. I've got a wonderful woman named Martha that started getting to know a few years ago during her battle with breast cancer, and then her husband's battle with cancer and his death. She is absolutely my second mom and I love her a lot!

    By Blogger Jenni, at 5/14/2005 03:02:00 PM  

  • I loved this post. Though I wasn't a huge fan of the movie myself, I noticed the same things you were talking about.

    I also liked the comment that you don't have to an "absent" parent in order to have lots of second moms and dads. I am the queen of "other" parents, you and Diane being one of my first sets. I think that is the beauty of the body of Christ; we are all called to be a family, and to us younger members, it's great to have so many "parents" to help us find our way on our own spiritual journeys.

    Thanks so much for letting me be part of your family. I love you guys sooooooo much! Give my "mom" a hug for me tonight since I won't be at church tomorrow to get my weekly hug! Blessings to you, Heather

    By Blogger Heather A, at 5/14/2005 07:18:00 PM  

  • Great post, Mike. I need to rent that movie. I was blessed to have a father who actually fathered me. He not only fathered me, but I watched him father other kids who were missing that in their own lives. I hope I can be that kind of man of God. Great reminder. Leaky cups.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 5/14/2005 08:23:00 PM  

  • Just today I took two young girls to a local festival for a day of face-painting, moonwalk-jumping and cotton-candy eating. Their mother Jennifer was a friend of mine who died of cancer last summer. Her girls are 4 and 6 and have had several "other mothers" in their lives since their mother's death, and I'm honored to be able to minister to them. I've also been honored for them to minister to me. In their own sweet, innocent, silent way, they have helped me through this first year of my own grief for Jennifer. They are a living testimony to the fact that in the face of the unimaginable, life does indeed go on, and in it, there can be smiles laughter, and even cotton candy.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 5/14/2005 10:10:00 PM  

  • Mike this post is so true. I didn't grow up a scout, but the Christian equivilant called Christian Service Brigade. At age 8 I went to camp and before I knew it I was a junior in high school and a counselor in a cabin. I stayed on through my college years for the very reason you are posting about. To see kids come up to camp who don't know God's love or their own parent's love is heartbreaking, but to see them get their first taste of both is a blessing from God. Boy and young men so desperatly need solid, Christian men role models in their lives.

    FYI: The camp was www.northernfrontier.org

    By Blogger kenny, at 5/15/2005 04:53:00 AM  

  • I have been one who has been blessed to have had one who has been to me an "other mom" and one who has been an "other dad." And the opportunity has even come for me, beginning at age 18 and continuing till now, age 25, to be an "other mom" to certain children in my life. I praise God for these opportunities and for the ones who have so blessed my life.

    By Blogger Q, at 5/16/2005 08:40:00 PM  

  • Mike:

    I always love your comments on movie and TV culture. Bring us more such reflections from your so-called "braindead evenings."

    I want to invite you and everyone else in this blogger-hood to my blog party at the Magic Lantern Show. www.magiclanternshow.blogspot.com

    I trying to create a b'logue (a web dialogue) for people to discuss faith and film. It is just starting and we are only three weeks into the summer.

    The comments have been very interesting (often more interesting than my entries!). I welcome everyone to come to the Show and leave your comments!

    By Blogger Chris Benjamin, at 5/18/2005 07:19:00 AM  

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