Safeguarding his seed
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
Nearly a year ago, I wrote an article that was published in this newspaper titled “The limitless possibilities of seeds.”
The article shared some information about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Spitsbergen. The vault is located in an icy mountain between Norway and the North Pole. The “Doomsday Vault,” as it is called, houses the world’s ability to reproduce any plant, tree, crop or flower. Hidden away in the Arctic, the seeds have literally been kept on ice. However, reports have shared that global warming in Norway has threatened the vault. Some are pretty concerned about the potential loss of this seed vault, because it contains the means to reproduce food.
I want to bring our attention to the potential loss of other seeds that are not contained in this vault. In my opinion, these seeds should generate just as much concern. I am referring to the seed of a male human being.
On March 6 of this year, I read a headline on CNN titled “Parents of a deceased West Point military cadet want to save his sperm.” Yongmin and Monica Zhu, of Concord, Calif., filed a petition with the court to allow the hospital to proceed with a sperm retrieval procedure on their son’s body after Peter Zhu was fatally injured in a ski accident. Peter was the only male child to continue the Zhu family lineage. His parents attribute this mostly to China’s “one-child” policy, which forced his uncles to each have only one daughter, the petition said. Later in the same month, another article by CNN indicates that the Zhu family received approval to use their son’s seed for a potential surrogate birth. His sperm are currently on ice in a sperm bank.
This story of the Zhu family vividly describes the value of the seed of a male human being. The story of the vault demonstrates the value we have placed on millions of seeds that we have stored away. We are investing in these seeds to preserve them for the future. While climate is threatening seeds in a vault, life itself is threatening the seed of male humans.
Imagine if the entire world were suddenly in the same fate as the Zhu family. The last male heir has died suddenly. I know it sounds far-fetched, but in less than three weeks I have experienced the mourning of many men that was too close for comfort. My pastor lost his brother in a tragic car accident; my church elder lost his nephew in the Virginia Beach municipal building shooting; a popular Suffolk businessman and my spiritual brother lost his father; and my grandfather died of cardiac arrest. Each of these deaths was sudden and alarming.
At the homegoing ceremony of my grandfather, I listened to many men share how my grandfather had impacted their lives. It impressed me so much that men of all ages, from 20 to 80, had stories upon stories of wisdom that Granddaddy Abe had given to them. I looked around at my family gathered at the homegoing reception; there were noticeably more women than men. It got me thinking that too many men are dying. That means seeds are being lost.
The word of God tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:15, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” This passage points to Apostle Paul’s work as a spiritual father to be the instrument that God used to convert men by the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This Father’s Day, I want to encourage my fathers and brothers in the Lord to support and reach out to another man. Share your experiences with one another. Pass on some wisdom. Share the gospel. The word of God is a safeguard, and many men are without it. Men are won to Christ by the example and intentional discipleship of other men. Men need men to be good fathers. Men need men to know how to keep their seed from becoming damaged, diseased or dead seeds. Women do our best to cover, shield and defend you, but we know that you truly need a man in your life to undergird your purpose. A man’s purpose and his seed have limitless possibilities in Christ.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers in our community.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.