Acton Institute Powerblog

The Love Of A Father And The Economy Of Family

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Dick and Rick Hoyt, Boston Marathon, 1981
Dick and Rick Hoyt, Boston Marathon, 1981

255 Triathlons (6 Ironman distances, 7 Half Ironman), 22 Duathlons, 72 Marathons (32 Boston Marathons), 8 18.6 Milers, 97 Half Marathons, 1 20K, 37 10 Milers: That’s a lot of miles. A lot of training. A lot of numbers. It’s an economy of sorts for athletic achievement.

These are some of the stats for Team Hoyt, the father-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt who have raced together for 37 years. Rick was born with cerebral palsy in 1962, and his parents were told to institutionalize him. They brought him home instead. He struggled with his handicap but the computer technology allowed him to communicate for himself. And he communicated that he wanted to run:

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

Dick Hoyt did not have to push his son in 72 marathons. He did not have to run until the age of 74, pushing his own body to the limit so that his son could feel the joy of competition and athleticism. But he is a father. And he loves his son. And so he has run.

I don’t know the Hoyts, but I suspect that they probably don’t think that what they’ve done is heroic. It’s unique, certainly, and a great accomplishment, but heroic? They would likely deny that term. Yet it is. It is the heroism of family, a heroism that we need badly in our world today.

We know that the majority of American teens do not live in an intact family. Whether it’s the mother or father that is out of the home, it’s a problem. The daily presence of a parent should not just be the norm, is should be normal. It’s what creates a healthy family, healthy kids, a healthy culture. As Christians, we have a model for this in God. God – as Christians understand Him – is a family of love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is out of this love that we are created, and we are then given the command to love as God does.

Thus, there is an economy to the family, not in the sense of numbers added up in one column and subtracted in the next, or in how much a family produces vs. how much it consumes. It’s not an economy of counting the hours rocking a colicky baby, or sitting through piano recitals, or even running behind your son’s wheelchair. It is related though: it’s the economy of love, oikonomia. It’s what we say “yes” to when we agree to marry, to have a child, to raise a family, to care for an aging parent. It’s the very nature of love.

In For the Live of the World, this idea of the economy of love is explored. What’s the nature – the economy – of love? Team Hoyt is a testament to this, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the numbers they’ve racked up. It has to do with a dad and a son loving each other so much, they are willing to push themselves to the very limit, over and over again.

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack

For the Life of the World is an entertaining film series that explores the deeper meaning of Salvation. Have you ever wondered, “What is my Salvation actually FOR?” Is it only about personal atonement, about getting to heaven, or something that comes later? Is it just to have a “friend in Jesus?”

Join Evan Koons and his friends – Stephen Grabill, Amy Sherman, Anthony Bradley, Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins, Tim Royer and Dwight Gibson – as they discover a “new perspective,” the BIGGER picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it.” This seven-part film series will help you, your friends, church or organization investigate God’s Economy of All Things – OIKONOMIA (a Greek word that has a lot to say about God’s plan for his creation, the world, and us.)

This Combo Pack includes a letter from Evan and two discs for your player of choice: DVD and Blu-ray. Enjoy seven episodes around 20 minutes each, along with episode teaser videos, a series trailer, and bonus content.

Explore how God’s purposes are woven into every area of our lives: family, work, art, charity, education, government, recreation and all creation! The Bible calls us Strangers and Pilgrims, living in "the now and not yet" of God’s Kingdom Come on earth. We are also called to be salt and light, to have a transforming presence among our neighbors. Rediscover the role of the church and how our lives lived on earth matter in God’s plan for the world.

Designed for deep exploration, the series invites viewers to watch the series again for new insights. Also, check out the companion Field Guide to jump-start group and individual investigation and enhance the film experience! FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD Field Guides are available in print or via streaming access at

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.