May 14, 2014


     Joe L. Wheeler, Ph.D., author/editor/compiler of 86 books, has a new book out: Only God Can Make a Dad (eChristian/Mission Books, 2014). Actually, this book was published before A Mother’s Face Is Her Child’s First Heaven, but we reversed the order to get the book out before Mother’s Day.

Included in this collection are twelve timeless stories of fatherhood that ought to stand the test of time. If you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for someone, this might just be it.


In its 142 pages, the following are included:

Introduction: “Why Only God Can Make a Dad” –Joseph Leininger Wheeler
“Tenderly and Forever,” –Author Unknown
“The Bridge of Ice” –Mitchell V. Charnley
“As a Grain of Mustard Seed” –Hattie H. Carpenter
“Father” –Stella Parker Peterson
“The Best Policy” –Christine Whiting Parmenter
“The Return” –Margaret E. Sangster, Jr.
“There Is a Way Which Seemeth Right” –Gwendolyn Lampshire Hayden
“The Church with an Overshot-Wheel” –Author Unknown
“Jim’s Experiment” –Beth Bradford Gilchrist
“In Quest of beauty” –Maud Mary Brown
“Roddy’s Second Nature” –T. Morris Longstreth
“Life in the Fast Lane” –Joseph Leininger Wheeler

    Joseph Leininger Wheeler

      Fatherhood is a mighty tough profession—one none of us get any training for.  Just as is true for motherhood, each newly-minted father stumbles blindly into it without a learning manual or introduction book.
There is no greater epiphany than that first glimpse of God’s greatest miracle in our lives: that first baby, flesh of our flesh, conceived in love by a man and woman united by God in holy matrimony.  It is no hyperbole to maintain that no male ever really experiences selfless love until he looks for the first time into the eyes of his helpless child.  Even marriage can be approached selfishly.  But not fatherhood—for the baby is so helpless that, without parents or parental surrogates, it will die in only days.
One of the greatest tragedies of our time is the wholesale depreciation of marriage by a secular society.  Marriage—who needs it?  Men and women everywhere (close to half of all Americans) merely move in with each other—without commitment, without swearing, before God, family, and witnesses, that each will be there for the other as long as life lasts.  These solemn marital vows represent the very foundational structure of a child’s life; when they do not exist, the child’s heart is broken by that absence.
The media tells us not to worry: the child will do fine without a mother and a father.  One will do as well as two.  Not true!  It cannot possibly be the same.  And let me tell you why.
For a number of years, I directed an Adult Degree Program.  During those years, and in a similar program in another state, I sat at the head of long tables with 20 to 30 adults (from those in their twenties to those in their eighties).  Crucial to the success of the awarding of experiential college credit for knowledge and skills gained outside the formal classroom is the autobiography.  Only when each Adult Degree student writes such a summation of his/her life story, chronologically, do all the little things each has accomplished in life come to mind, and hence contribute to a case for specific course credit.
But something else happens when life stories are written.  I ought to know, for over the years I’ve listened to five hundred to a thousand, each lasting an average of one to two hours (some longer, a very few shorter).  Without exception (that I can remember), whenever the reader approached a section dealing with abandonment (by father, mother, spouse), the voice would slow, become ragged, break—many’s the time the reader was literally incapable of going on, so overcome with emotion and tears I’d have to declare a recess before the life story could be completed.  Some were incapable of going on even after that.  The only explanation to this that makes sense to me is that such cases of perceived abandonment leave life-long wounds in the psyche, wounds that never completely heal.  All it takes—months, years, or decades later—is to revisit them and the wound bleeds as copiously as though the act had just happened!
Why am I sharing this now?  Because, without the daily sustaining power of a divine God in our lives, marriage is extremely difficult to sustain and preserve.  Without God to turn to when trials, tribulations, disasters, deaths, incapacitating, etc., come to us, we crumble.
On a deeper level, without a God who can serve as a catalyst for values to internalize, character traits do not put down roots.  We see the results of life without God in every courtroom in America: if an individual witness does not believe in God, how can s/he swear to “tell the truth, so help me God”?  The epidemic of cheating sweeping the nation is the result of our children growing up without any concept of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong.
This is why “Only God Can Make a Dad.”  A “father” can happen on a biological level in a procreational sense, but a “Dad” implies something far deeper, far dearer.  That truth came home to me—vividly—some years ago when my book, Heart to Heart Stories for Dads (Focus on the Family/Tyndale House, 1997) came out.  When I inscribed them, “As we perceive our earthly father, thus we perceive God,” it scared people.  So much so that I finally had to quit using that inscription.  After much prayer, I stumbled on “Only God Can Make a Dad,” and voila!  Smiling acceptance.  Reason being that each book-purchaser perceives fatherhood as very different from being a “Dad.”  To be a “Dad,” is to be a work-in-progress, to be in a fluid process of internalizing character traits that mirror the ultimate template of divine fatherhood but are qualified by our sinful tendencies and all too frequent mistakes and lapses of good judgment.  But when such mistakes are made by a God-fearing father, and the father confesses his mistakes to his children, and assures them that, with God’s help, he’ll do his best not to repeat them, the tenderness and empathy that results creates such a bond that eventually such a father, with God’s day-to-day assistance and blessing, has the potential to be worthy of being called “Dad.”


     Most of these stories (nine of the twelve) I’ve never anthologized before.  The three that I brought back I did so because I felt this collection needed them in order to make God-given fatherhood three-dimensional and possible in our daily lives.  Many many fatherhood stories were rejected because they lacked the power I sought.  In fact, I have scanned through thousands of stories in our archives and recent book purchases seeking out those few—so few they are rare—I consider pure gold.  Also-rans are being returned to the archives, as not quite good enough.
What I sought were stories that emphasized God-like character traits; that portrayed fathers earnestly seeking to become “Dads”; fathers as fallible but seeking to profit by their mistakes; fathers evolving from authority figures into friends; fathers being willing to make great sacrifices so that the child can grow into his/her full potential; fathers who become not only worthy of respect but—far more significantly—worthy of love.

This collection includes some of the greatest family writers of the last hundred years., Writers such as Chriwstine Whiting Parmenter, Margaret E. Sangster, Jr., Gwendolyn Lampshire Hayden, Beth Bradford Gilchrist, and T. Morris Longstreth.


Binding: Trade Paper
Pages: 142
Price: $12.98
Packing and Mailing: $4.50

Personally signed or inscribed by Joe Wheeler, if requested, at no extra cost.

Mail your request to: Dr. Joe L. Wheeler, P.O. Box 1246, Conifer, CO 80433.
Or Phone: 303-838-2333
Or send an email: mountainauthor@gmail.com