Father’s Day, it is the one day each year that we honor fathers, a day to tell dad just how much he means to us. But, it is a shame that over 24 million kids, one in three children, growing up in the United States today, have no father present in the household to honor. And, at the current rate over 50% will be growing up in a fatherless household in a few generations. Nine out of ten American parents see this as a crisis. There is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today.
Where is the outrage? What are we doing about it? Why are men abandoning their responsibilities?
Fatherhood is in crisis in America. The statistics are alarming. Children growing up in fatherless homes are:
- More likely to be poor.
- More likely to be incarcerated.
- More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- More likely to have a teen pregnancy.
- More likely to have problems in school.
Is that what we want for our kids?
Vincent DeCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative informs us: People “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father.”
To have a father might just be the biggest factor in dealing with the greatest social issues facing American today.
So, where are these fathers? How do we reach them? How do we tell them that anyone can have a child but it takes a man to be a father?
Some may be so into themselves and their problems that they just can’t handle a family. Others might have endured physical or psychological abuse as children and fear they will be abusive as well. Still others may have come from fatherless homes themselves and have no role model for fatherhood or doubt their ability to parent.
As Christian fathers we need to look for opportunities to mentor these young men.
Our local pregnancy center began a men’s ministry to reach out not only to young pregnant women, but the father as well. That’s a start.
Our jail ministry group often talks to incarcerated men about “manning up” and understanding the responsibility of fatherhood.
Our schools need to realize that teaching parenting may be more important than just about any other subject.
Community centers and recreational facilities need to use sports to begin a dialogue on fatherhood.
We need to find these men where they are and bring the message to them that fatherhood might just be the most important thing they do in their lifetime.
Today, let’s truly honor those who are doing their best to be good fathers. They work hard every day to be present for their children and spouse. They take this responsibility seriously. Here are a few things to consider.
- Great fatherhood begins with a relationship with a child’s mother. The way dad treats mom becomes the blueprint for how our sons will treat their wives and will provide a role model for our daughters as to what to look for in a husband of their own.
- We need to spend time with our kids. Kids spell the word father, T-I-M-E! Time just being together, playing, discovering, and bonding.
- We need to nurture and guide. We need to provide a moral compass based on our faith, that will serve them and future generations to come.
- We need to protect and provide for their health and well-being. Kids need to feel safe and secure knowing that dad will protect them.
- We are their first and most important role model. Remember, they are watching.
…Help me to become a better father.
…Make the way I treat their mother be a model for their future relationships.
…May I find quality time to spend with my children and understand that “any time” is better than waiting for the “right time.”
…May I nurture and guide my children, passing along my faith by making God, church, and service to others, a priority.
…Lord, give me the ability to provide for my wife and children and protect them for any harm.
…And, may my kids look at me as a shining example of God’s love, that one day they will say, “I want to be just like dad!”
Happy Father’s Day.
Here are two other stories on fatherhood that you might find interesting.
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