“I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord almighty.” II Corinthians 6:17,18
All across America youth are growing up without a father figure in their lives. Our young people are crying out for a father. With some young people, there is a man in the house but he is not the real father. For others the father is physically present, but emotionally and spiritually he is not fulfilling the role of a daddy. One study I read claimed that the average time fathers talk to their teenage sons is less than five minutes a day. Fathers are providing ‘things’ but not time and not guidance.
Even in evangelical believing families many fathers are not fulfilling their role. Josh McDowell in his book, “The Father Connection,” reports a study he did on Christian homes which should shock all of us men to action.
- One in every four evangelical young people surveyed stated that they never have a meaningful conversation with their father. More than two in five [42%] say they seldom or never do something special with their father that involves “just the two of you.”
- One in five say their father seldom or never shows love for them.
Josh McDowell goes on to highlight the need for fathers who will fill the role of a model and who are willing to reach out to their children. He cites other studies that show:
- The absence of a father is a stronger factor than poverty in contributing to juvenile delinquency.
- Crime rates are highest among adults who as children were raised solely by women.
- Conversation at the dinner table with fathers stimulates a child to perform better in school.
- There may be a connection in teenage girls between eating disorders and an absent father.
- Young teenage girls living in fatherless families were 60 percent more likely to have premarital sex than those living in a two-parent family.
- Emotionally or physically absent fathers contribute to:
- Low motivation for achievement
- Inability to defer immediate gratification
- Low self esteem
- Susceptibility to peer influence and to juvenile delinquency.
Every father, down deep, desires to be a good dad. Yet, many fathers do not know what to do for this to happen. Many “well-meaning dads feel overwhelmed by the job of becoming an effective father. Many admit that they are fumbling the job of fatherhood and juggling the act of marriage, career and fatherhood. Most feel trapped by the intense work schedules and accompany pressures. Many feel limited by the lack of fathering skills, by difficult marriage, or by unhealthy patterns in their lives” [p.3] Coupled with these is the inability of expressing deep love and feelings to their wife and children.
He goes on to enumerate things fathers think are important for their children to be able to feel and to do. Most dads want his children to:
- Feel loved and secure
- Develop a reputation of integrity
- Say that their dad keeps his promises
- Stand up to unhealthy peer pressure
- Avoid drug and alcohol abuse
- Save sex for marriage
- Come to him for advice and counsel
- Admit when they are wrong
- Come to him when they are hurting or in trouble
- Admire and respect him as their parent.
In short, what we want our children to be, we must be. What we want our children to do, we as fathers must model. Being a good father is the greatest calling a man can have. You may be a success on the job and in your profession but if your children do not respect you, you are a failure. No man, when facing eternity, has ever regretted the time spent with his children.
Recommended reading for help and ideas: Josh McDowell, The Father Connection, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
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Your articles are always excellent, David. Keep up the good work. I am forwarding your email to our church email list. May your travels continue. Darline