For years, because of career responsibilities, I seldom had an opportunity to go back to the little country church - Rose of Sharon - that I attended during the early years of my life. But, on those rare occasions when I did have an opportunity to return there, one thing always seemed to happen. Some of the neighbors I had known since childhood would come up to me and say, "Why, Willie Howard, you are the spittin' image of your daddy." Hoping those kind folk meant more than physical likeness, I always took their comments in the best possible way, believing that they were paying tributes to my father and offering compliments to me.
Most children, by nature, are excellent imitators. From the early days of childhood when they first begin to walk and talk, they imitate, sometimes for the amusement of those around them, the speech patterns, physical characteristics and character traits of the adults around them. Allowing these distinctive qualities to become indelibly imprinted upon their lives, many children carry these unusual qualities and identifying characteristics into adult life. As primary role models to the children in their households, fathers influence every aspect of the life of their children.