THAT SILVER-HAIRED DADDY OF MINE
By David R. Kenney
My family are fans of the music of Gene Autry. We have listened to his music for several years, even purchased CDs of his music for our children. As I was going through my late father’s collection of cassette tapes in his truck, there were several that had been played so often, or set out in a hot truck for too long, that the music has become distorted. One of the cassette tapes in his collection was a collection of Gene Autry’s music. I smiled as I looked over the titles, then one caught my attention that had escaped my memory, “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine”. Dad loved that song. I recalled the song; I had just forgotten that it was a song of Gene Autry being a hit in 1935.
Dad did not get the opportunity to see his daddy with silver hair as his father died in 1948 when he was but three years old. He loved the song, and he longed for days he could never see. I listen to the song; and I long for the days I have seen, days of my memory. My father was a silver-haired daddy to me. The song’s message is one of regret and sorrow including these poignant words—“I could recall all the heartaches Dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear, If I could erase those lines from your face, And bring back the gold to your hair.” I was blessed to have a father who loved me, whom I loved, and this was not a secret to either of us. It is a message my father has lived before my life: to make sure you show your love for your children, and for children to show their love for their father by both being lovable and loving.
Sure, I have made mistakes, things I regret. As adults with children of our own, we look back and see the things we have done and more fully understand the impact such had on our parents. The song also speaks about that too—“God would but grant me the power just to turn back the pages of time I'd give all I own if I could but atone to that silver haired daddy of mine.” Sadly, some of us, including myself, cannot speak words of atonement to our fathers any longer, but that does not mean we should not speak such words to the Father who our fathers should be pointing us too. The noble work of being a father, the sacred calling of fatherhood, is to lead our children to our Heavenly Father. I believe that pointing is what Paul meant when he wrote “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV.) You may not have had a silver haired daddy, but you can be that kind of a father to your children. If you are a woman, you can make diligent effort to marry that kind of man for your children.
It may be too late for us to bring acts of atonement to our earthly fathers, but it is not too late to take steps of atonement toward our Heavenly Father. That is something our fathers, whether silver-haired or not, would be pleased to know. God blessed me with a black, then grey, then silver, and then white headed daddy (Proverbs 16:31). Be a blessing!
David R. KenneyJuly 11, 2016
(On the occasion of Dad’s 72nd birthday)