As I reflect on my own kids growing up I feel a tremendous satisfaction in being a father to them. I haven’t been perfect by any means, particularly when it comes to doing things that I don’t especially enjoy, but we have had many great times together. What an incredible experience to have little children look up to you, trust you, and learn much of life from your own life experiences. What a blessing it is when I see other fathers taking time to interact with their children, playing with them at a picnic, rolling around “wrestling” in the living room (often at the chagrin of their mother), or enjoying the outdoors together. I have learned that children are quick to overlook your faults when they know you love them, which, in the mind of a child, is equated with spending time with them and doing things together. Long gone are the days when fathers were expected to be the “bread winner” while the mother was the only one who developed a relationship with the kids.
Unfortunately there has been a movement that promoted the idea that children don’t need fathers. From the entertainment industry that portrays fathers as buffoons to feminists who flat out reject the necessity of fathers, fatherhood has taken a beating.
The truth is that there are fathers who have really blown it. Let’s face it, some fathers have not been much of a father, (maybe because they didn’t have a father themselves?) and in some homes have made life worse by their presence. But to reject the importance of fathers because a small minority of people managed without a father in the house is like finding a 80 year old smoker and saying that smoking is fine because smoking doesn’t seem to have hurt the 80 year old. We know that smoking kills. Maybe not always, but almost always. And certainly, there will be a few homes in which a father is more harm than good, but by and large children do much better with fathers than without. Statistics confirm it again and again. The percentage of children who are content, productive, and responsible citizens is much higher in two parent families than in homes without a father. When it comes to raising children, there is no substitute for a mother and a father (which is all the more reason we need to stand by and support the single parents in our community).
If you are a father, take pride in raising the next generation of godly men and women. God has given you an incredible and awesome responsibility. Don’t listen to the voices that say you have no part in the lives of children. Enjoy your children. Be involved. Do things together. Teach them the things of God. Set boundaries. Lead by example. Treat their mother with love and respect. And you will be blessed.
God’s Word is true. Psalm 127:3,5 says it well: “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him… Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
For additional resources on fatherhood, check out the Focus on the Family web site at Fatherhood Resources or for general family information, go to the Focus on the Family Main Web Page. They will provide you with much encouragement, resources, articles, research and support.