Society in today loves to emphasize the role of mothers. In honor of father’s day, I’d like to offer you a discussion about why fathers are important. It’s so easy as a father to think that our role is less important. Please note that I’m not trying at all to diminish the role of mothers, but instead to emphasize that fathers also do matter a great deal!
As a father you can have very powerful and important impacts on your childrens’ lives in ways you may not even be aware of. Specifically in topics like faith, your presence and actions are critical! Hopefully this episode will help to reinforce this importance and motivate you to stay engaged!
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5 Reasons why fathers are still critical today
Pope Francis, speaking about fatherhood (from Catholic News Service by Carol Glatz):
Speaking to some 7,000 people gathered in the Paul VI audience hall, the pope spelled out the essential, but demanding, things it takes to be a good father.
The most important is being present, first by being by his wife’s side “to share everything, joy and pain, hard work and hope” and by being there for his children as they grow, he said.
A father is there for his kids “when they play and when they work hard, when they are playful and when they are distressed, when they are communicative and when they are taciturn, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they have strayed and when they have found their way again,” he said.
However, being present “is not the same as being controlling, you know, because fathers who are too controlling suffocate their children and don’t let them grow,” the pope said.
A father knows how to firmly correct children’s mistakes without demeaning or demoralizing them, as well as protect them at all costs, the pope said. Guidance does not come from a father who is “weak, yielding and a softie,” he said.
- They keep their children out of trouble
- o 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- o 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- o 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- o 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- o 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
- o Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
- o Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
- o Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
- o Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
- o 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
- o 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
- o 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
- They bring balance to the house
- “As fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett of YaleMedicalSchool explains in Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, “fathers do not mother.” Psychology Today explains, “fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.” A father, as a male parent, brings unique contributions to the parenting project.
- Likewise, a mother, as a female, uniquely impacts the life and development of her child, as Dr. Brenda Hunter explains in her book, The Power of Mother Love: Transforming Both Mother and Child. Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, explained that father love and mother love are qualitatively different kinds of love. As cited in Kyle D. Pruett, The Nurturing Father, (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 49.
- Dr. Pruett: By 8 weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between a male or female interacting with them. This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions—more so than for children who are raised by only one gender. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning at earliest age, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children.
- Fathers push their children to grow
- These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body – Emily Stimpson
- Fathers in the Forest story
- They build faith in their children
- Ancient jewish culture, one of the few duties relating to children that was explicitly assigned to fathers was education of the faith.
- In Psalm 78, we have the words of Asaph, a contemporary of David, who longs to be heard because he is speaking an important word from God to God’s people, one that is absolutely essential to the preservation of society and the purpose of God’s people in society. Verses 1-4:
- Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
- incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
- 2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
- I will utter dark sayings from of old,
- 3 things that we have heard and known,
- that our ancestors have told us.
- 4 We will not hide them from their children;
- we will tell to the coming generation
- the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
- and the wonders that he has done.
- Ephesians 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.
- If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.
- If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church.
- Let us look at the figures the other way round. What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goes up from 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father’s commitment grows in proportion to mother’s laxity, indifference, or hostility.
- Pope Francis – Young people who are “orphaned of ideals,” values and hope, the pope said, will fill that void with “idols” and be driven by fleeting pleasures and the illusion of “the god of money,” robbing them of their real treasures within.
- They role-model God the Father
- Pope Benedict: There is a crisis of fatherhood. If fatherhood and men are seen only as “biological accidents” to be ridiculed or as “tyrants” to be thrown off, then God the Father’s face is so disfigured that it is not recognizable and our identities are distorted threatening life itself—indeed “something in the basic structure of human existence has been damaged.” A theology of masculinity is needed—one that restores the basic structure of human existence: fatherhood. Men are spiritual sons, brothers, and husbands first, but the summit of being a man is being spiritual fathers always, and biological fathers sometimes. If the summit of being a man is spiritual fatherhood, then the source and model of that fatherhood is God the Father.
- God is the archetypal Father; all other fatherhood is a more or less imperfect copy of his perfect fatherhood. – F.F. Bruce
A father’s responsibility is not to make the child’s decisions, but to let the child watch him make his. – Ed Cole