Fathers, You Are Extremely Important

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 19, 2014 0 comments

by Steve Risner
Originally posted on February 25, 2014

Editors Note: As we continue our series on “Marriage – What Is It?” Please share this with a father. Please share this with a young man who is not yet a father. This is too important just to ignore.

Dads are extremely important. I mean, fathers: I’m guessing you have absolutely NO IDEA how important you are in the lives of your children, and in the lives of your wives, AND very much so in the life of the church. We need dads to be who God called them to be. Understand I believe moms are exceptionally important, as well. Today, I’m writing about dads because I think we have a big problem concerning dads. In order to understand the greatness of dads, we need to look at what God has to say to dads:

Gen. 6:18 - Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Abraham is the Father of our faith, so to speak. Abraham wasn’t a perfect man, but he did something that God commanded: …he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD…so [He] will bring about …what He has promised. That is: He will make him great.

So how do we direct our children to keep the ways of the Lord? God’s Word further says, in Deut 6:6-9 - Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

So in order to do this we need to know the Word of God ourselves and we need to talk about it. We have plenty of opportunity to learn about God’s ways from the Bible, in church services, small groups, and the internet.

God has called us, dads, to train up our children. He’s called us to be the head of the household and direct our children in the way of the Lord. You may not have signed up for that, but that doesn’t change the fact that God has made an order to things and you’re much closer to the top than many of us would like to take responsibility for.

Fatherhood is in decline. Fathers are portrayed on TV as imbeciles and they have little to no authority at all. Men have bought this and have become Doug Hefernan and Ray Barone, Tim Allen or Homer Simpson. With fatherhood on the decline and men simply playing their Hollywood role of bread winner and neighborhood clown, we’re in trouble. Men have decided to let mom be the authority. She can teach the kids. She can be in charge. Let her make the decisions and let her go out and represent the family in the community or church. I believe this is a BIG problem.

Here are some staggering statistics that may help you realize why I feel God placed this on my heart.

A survey was conducted 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 alarming in light of what I just told you concerning attendance. There is one critical factor found in the survey. 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.

So let me share the survey results so you can see why this is amazing: If both parents are regular in their church attendance,74% of their children will remain faithful to one degree or another. If dad is irregular in attendance while mom is regular, 62% will attend (that’s a loss of 12% because dad was not a regular attender). If dad doesn’t attend but mom is regular in her attendance, 39% of their children will have a faith of some sort (that is a loss of 35% compared to dads that attend regularly). 2% of their children will become a regular attendee. 2%!

In short, If the father attends at all, 50-74% of his children will attend church on some level. If the father does not attend, 2% of his children will become regular worshippers and not even 40% will attend at all.

Said another way: If mom stays home but dad goes, a minimum of 2/3 of the children will be in church. If dad stays home and mom goes, 2/3 of the children will not go to church. If neither goes to church, 80% of their children won’t go either.

When a child gets to the age where they begin to differentiate themselves from mom and dad, more than anything, they’ll use their dad as the role model—this is for boys and girls. Where the father is indifferent, inadequate, or just plain absent, the task of differentiation is much harder. When children see that church is a "women and children" thing, they will respond accordingly—by not going to church, or going much less. Curiously, both adult women as well as men will conclude subconsciously that Dad’s absence indicates that going to church is not really a "grown-up" activity.

We live in a time where fatherlessness is the norm. I’m not just talking about single moms, friends. How many dads do you know who live with their wives and children but are really absent?

Children with involved Fathers are more confident, better able to deal with frustration, better able to gain independence and their own identity, more likely to mature into compassionate adults, more likely to have a high self-esteem, more sociable, more secure as infants, less likely to show signs of depression, less likely to commit suicide, more empathetic, boys have been shown to be less aggressive and adolescent girls are less likely to engage in sex.

I had a bunch of stats for you to confirm this, but I honestly thought they’d be too depressing. I will share a couple just to make the point stick:

--85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. 20 times the national average.
SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice
--children living in two-parent households with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households.
“Without two parents, working together as a team, the child has more difficulty learning the combination of empathy, reciprocity, fairness and self-command that people ordinarily take for granted. If the child does not learn this at home, society will have to manage his behavior in some other way. He may have to be rehabilitated, incarcerated, or otherwise restrained. In this case, prisons will substitute for parents.”

SOURCE: Morse, Jennifer Roback. “Parents or Prisons.” Policy Review, 2003

The bottom line to this is that Dads are a gift to their children. As a father, you must realize that your presence is a gift to your child. Fathers represent a lot more than just a paycheck to a child; they represent safety, protection, guidance, friendship, and someone to look up to.