In the ensuing discussion, Tod reveals that he had been abused by his father. He tells Helen, “He used to wake me up in the morning by flicking lit cigarettes at my head, [saying] ''Hey, asshole, get up and make me breakfast.'' After a pause to let that scenario sink in, he continues, “You know, Miss Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish. But they´ll let any butt-reamin´ asshole be your father.” In his own crude way, he captures one of the profound ironies of life. We put so much effort into monitoring so many aspects of modern life, yet we often neglect the weightier matters such as parenting. This is not to advocate government getting involved in some kind of bureaucratic licensing scheme to determine who should parent and who should not. That would be a fiasco. But it is certainly ironic that this critical process for the well-being of civilization receives so little focus and is so seldom discussed.
I don’t need to tell you that many do not handle the responsibility of parenting very well. The aforementioned scene from the movie is so poignant because we all probably know people that were raised in abusive homes or we were, ourselves, raised in such homes. In our sinful world, far too many fail in this area by lapsing into the worst of sinful tendencies. Without God, it is a virtual certainty that we will fail in this area, but there are, unfortunately, too many supposedly Christian homes that fail as well. When I was growing up, I knew many kids that came from such homes where the Bible was allegedly the guide for all things, but there was very little of the love of Christ in those homes. The “faith” that their parents were practicing was a strain of legalism that they had arbitrarily cobbled together from the Biblical rules that they did not mind yielding to. But their hearts were far from God, judging by how harshly and legalistically they treated their children.
I pray that, if you came from such a home, you would realize that your parents were not following the true morality of love as taught by our Savior and that you would allow God to heal you of that pain. If you came from a loving Christian home, I pray that you would remember your parents thankfully, knowing that, even if they were not perfect, they did their best as they understood the law of love taught by Jesus.