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By Ron Mehl
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2006 Joyce C. Mehl, Trustee, Joyce C. Mehl Revocable Living Trust
All right reserved.
The Story of a Father's Book
I've always said that the most meaningful book I ever wrote had a very short print run.
The two copies went to the two young men I care about more than any young men on the face of the planet: my two sons, Ron Jr. and Mark. I gave them each a copy when they graduated from high school. It was a book that listed critical life concerns-personal convictions very close to this dad's heart.
You might not think so, but the task of putting that original little book together was no small chore. It represented many months of study, reflection, prayer, work-and a lifetime of experience. Joyce and I actually printed it ourselves and found a bookbinder in north Portland who lovingly bound it in leather, then hand stamped on each cover the title Father Knows Best in gold lettering.
Why did I do that? Why did I take the trouble as a father to write such things to my sons? Why did I the books typeset and printed and bound? Because I wanted the book packaged in such a way that Ron and Mark could take and keep it with them over the long haul. I wanted to ensure that if they were ever confused or troubled in their minds, or wondered what their dad might think or do ina given situation, they would at least have something to turn to. I wanted them to realize through the years that I cared enough about them and their future to capture my heart for them in words on a page.
As I wrote, I felt as though I was pouring out my life for my sons, knowing that my time with them under our roof was short. I knew they would soon be independent young men, out on their own in the wide world.
And now they are gone. Both married. Both with homes of their own. In fact, this last December our first granddaughter, Liesl, was born.
Many who have heard me speak of that little volume, Father Knows Best, asked if they could have a copy. Dads and moms wanted it for their own children. Young men and women who miss a dad's love and guidance wanted it for themselves.
But I had a problem.
When I gave those volumes to Ron and Mark, I promised them that the words inside were just for them-father to son-and that I would never publish those thoughts.
I've kept that promise. With the exception of a couple of short pieces, the book you hold in your hands is all new material. But the idea is still the same ... and so is the heart. I have written these pages as though I am writing to those boys of mine, and now to their children as well. And I really am. These are all thoughts and concerns and reminders I would like very much to pass along to my sons, my grandchildren ... and to young men and women everywhere.
There are young men and women in our flock here in Beaverton who face disappointments, dangers, incredible pressures, and confusing crossroads, and don't know which way to turn. As their pastor, I wish I could be there for them. All of them. I wish I could impart some word of encouragement or warning or blessing that might point them toward God's eternal Word and the Savior who loves them so deeply.
Beyond our church's walls, countless other young men and women find themselves at profound turning points. Some wonder whether the Christian life is really worth it. Others contemplate disastrous shortcuts. Many wonder if anyone really cares. A few contemplate whether life itself is even worthwhile.
I wish I could be there for them too.
I would say to all of them what I would say to my own sons: Here are a few things you might want to consider, might want to take to heart, might want to keep handy ... for the times when I can't be there.
Excerpted from After Words by Ron Mehl Copyright © 2006 by Joyce C. Mehl, Trustee, Joyce C. Mehl Revocable Living Trust . Excerpted by permission.
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