Coming From Good Stock Really Begins With You

"Because we adopted [our daughter], Joseph's story is of great interest to me.  I've always believed he adopted Jesus as his own. Like my stepfather, who wanted to adopt me, I think he made no distinction between Jesus and his siblings."  ~~ Jeff, a dad.


I read the multiple-paged, handwritten letter with great care, wanting to discern honestly the words that had been printed "front-side only."  The tone was straightforward, written painstakingly; a torrent of love and regrets poured from pen to paper.  Occasionally I imagined myself as the intended recipient rather than someone who had merely been asked to read over it.
How would the little girl feel when she became a woman, I questioned, as she sat and read the words penned to her from her daddy who-at the time of the correspondence-was locked away in a penitentiary, serving another sentence in what seemed to be a lifetime of sentences?
The letter had been sent to me on purpose.  I wasn't eavesdropping into a private moment.  "I want my daughter to know the truth about my regrets," her father had written in an earlier note, "in hopes that she will understand, forgive me, and will not follow my path.  Will you," he continued, "read over this for me and let me know if I've written it well?  I want it to be perfect for her...when she reads it on her eighteenth birthday."
Grammatically, it was not perfect, but the message was clear:  you don't have to copy the lives of your parents, family members, or ancestors.  Each and every human being has the opportunity to build "good stock."  It begins right here, with you and me.
Biblical Background
It seems strange-as a mother-to be writing to fathers, but in the wake of my articles concerning what moms today can learn from Mary, the mother of Jesus, it only seemed fitting to take a look into the life of the man God chose to paternally parent His Son.  His name was Joseph and what we know about him is nearly as fragmented and sparse as what we know about his wife Mary.
According to the Hebrew Names version of the World English Bible, Joseph's immediate family tree looked something like this:

Ya`akov (Jacob) became the father of Yosef (Joseph), the husband of Miryam (Mary), from whom was born Yeshua (Jesus), who is called Messiah. (Matthew 1:16 parenthetical inserts mine).
This is, of course, just the tip of the proverbial family tree for the man we call Messiah...Savior.
Personal Background
I come from the South.  "Born 'n raised," as we say.  One thing about Southerners, we are very particular about "family trees."  I'm fairly certain I hear snickers across the Internet as this is being read, but hear me out.  While it's true we've been known to crossbreed within our own genealogy, the phrase, "Who is her daddy?" or "Who are his people?" originated right in the heart of Dixie.  Many a Friday night date has been cut in its prime when an appropriate answer to the above mentioned questions couldn't be given. 
"It's not proper," a high-brow father would say to his son, "for a boy of your background to be seen dating a girl of her people's caliber."
"But, Dad-" the boy might argue, though to no avail.
It's the same story for girls, though somewhat in reverse.
Back to the Bible
The young virgin, betrothed to the carpenter named Joseph, most likely didn't have this problem.  According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, under the heading of "carpenter," it reads: "In the cities the carpenters would be Greeks, and skilled workmen; the carpenter of a provincial village could only have held a very humble position, and secured a very moderate competence." Though Joseph worked a humble trade, he came from a royal line; important when you understand that in order to fulfill the Messianic prophesies, Jesus must come from the line of David.
But that royal closet was filled with an assortment of rotten skeletons, including four Gentile women who were anything but virtuous.
And it all "begets" around "begoting!"
In other words, "who's your daddy?"
In Joseph's case-though from the great King David-you don't really wanna know!