Fathers

The word “father” can convey a great number of meanings. It can reference the originator of an idea or an ideal. It can be an endearing term for a respected leader or commander. Most importantly though, the word is one that should in each of us evoke feelings of respect, ambition, discipline, and love, for we all have fathers.

Some children are blessed to share a great relationship with their father, learning from them the ways to engage the world with integrity and character. Others though are not so lucky, having fathers that are distant or absent, or even abusive. It’s a sad fact that, in many ways, our modern society has all but marginalized the importance of good fathers, not only through the traditional route of entertainment (whereby the role of the father has become increasingly buffoonish) but also more commonly now through the pushing of new social norms. Make no mistake, friends: fathers are incredibly important in the role they are meant to hold.

In our modern society, marriage is becoming increasingly less desirable when compared to the freedom of the alternative. Consequently, census data reveals that the presence of the household father is decreasing. In America alone, as of 2014, some 23.6% of children live in a home where the father is absent!¹ While the reasons for such run the gamut, from justifiable to inexcusable, what cannot be debated is the fact that these households, those where the father is not present, are vastly more apt statistically to to suffer from poverty (47.6%, or more than four times the rate of children living in married couple families),² increased risk of teenage pregnancy (7 times higher than those in a traditional household), and the involvement of drugs and firearms (an astonishing 279% more likely than traditional homes).³

No matter what one’s opinion may be of the matter, the statistics are clear: fathers are incredibly important, not only as a source of heredity, but also in matters of provision, structure, and security. Without fail, these important attributes trickle down from a singular, most important source: love.

I must admit that there was a time where fatherhood was the absolute last thing on my agenda. After the news of my wife’s pregnancy, my attitude softened into excitement, and with great expectation I made every effort to be involved. Things changed quickly for me during those days. Nothing though could have prepared me for the depth of emotion I felt that night I first met my oldest daughter. The word “love” is too pitifully anemic to convey the emotion of that experience. Now a father of three, every day is made inconceivably better each time I see their smiles, hear their laughter, and feel the tight grip of little hands on my leg, and nothing much compares to hearing a little voice chirp “I love you, Daddy.”

Whether we are blessed with a good earthly father, or have an absent one, we each can be sure that we have a good heavenly father. The scriptures repeatedly declare His goodness and His unyielding love for us. The clearest picture of that love comes through in Jesus’ sacrifice in the cross, whereby he died, shedding his sinless blood, so that we may be cleansed in that blood and live. John 3:16, perhaps the most famous of all verses, declares this saying: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As C. S. Lewis put it, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”

We all have a father in heaven and we all can be the children of that eternal father, enjoying the precious grace that He extends us. We do  that through the knowledge of Christ, recognizing who He was, what He achieved, and what we each mean to Him. 1 John 3:1a declares, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God

To all the fathers in my own life, I want to say how much I love you and how inspiring you all have been in my life. I’m truly blessed to have y’all. May God bless each and every father out there today. Happy Father’s Day!

References:

  1. U.S. Census Bureau [2015]
  2. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2012]
  3. Allen, A.N., & Lo, C.C., 2012, “Drugs, guns, and disadvantaged youths: Co-occuring behavior and the code of the street. Crime & Delinquency, 58, 932-953”]

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