Like father, like son

April 8, 2019

Back in 1967, television stations were required to run one anti-smoking commercial for every three cigarette commercials. One of those anti-smoking commercials begins with a father painting his home while standing on top of a ladder that’s leaning against his house. The camera pans downward to show his young son painting away, just like his dad but on a much smaller ladder, also leaning against the house. As the father-and-son team work on their project together, a voice-over announcer makes the statement, “Like father, like son.”

The next scene shows them riding together in a car, sitting in similar seats, making the same hand gestures to indicate which way they will be turning. Next we see the father-son pair giving their Mustang a bath. In the background the dad has a rag in one hand and a water hose in the other. In the foreground, the son is stooped low beside the passenger’s side front tire. As the two enjoy working together, the boy playfully pops up from his squatted position and surprises the dad by shooting him with his squirt gun.

As the commercial continues, the father-and-son are together taking a walk in their neighborhood. The dad sees a rock, bends down, picks it up and tosses it into some woods. Just like his father, the son does the same.

The commercial’s final scene has the father-and-son pair sitting next to a tree, resting from their busy day of activities. The father reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. He takes out a cigarette, lays the pack down beside his son, and puts the cigarette to his lips while his son quietly sits beside him observing his every move.

As expected, the son looks down at the pack of cigarettes as if to mimic what he has just seen his father do. As the boy examines the cigarette pack, this time the voice-over announcer asks a question, “Like father, like son? Think about it!”

This 1960s commercial is unbelievably accurate regarding the copycat nature of children. This advertisement depicts the truth that children can, and will, imitate the things they see and hear, especially when displayed by their parents. Now my question is simply this: what do your kids see and hear from you that they imitate? It is probably more than you think.

More times than not, children do what they see their parents do. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is a very true saying. It illustrates the incredible comparisons between parents and their children. There are numerous similarities in looks, demeanors and inclinations that can be uncanny.

From a spiritual standpoint, however, it is astonishing to see the parallels in the parents’ spiritual maturity levels and that of their children. In his book, Parenting with Kingdom Purpose, Ken Hemphill drove home this point when he said, “Most parents who want to know where their kids are headed religiously just need to look in the mirror.”

Father’s Day is a time for celebrating you – the head of the household and one of the primary influencers in your child’s life. Take a moment to examine yourself and see what kind of father you are giving them to celebrate this year. Take time to set it all before the Father and let Him accomplish a great and mighty work in you and through you.


by Mark Smith  /  
Family Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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