Our fathers play a very important role in our lives. Their influence is invaluable and their nurturing love is irreplaceable. It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, so during this very special day let’s take some time reflecting on the importance of a father figure in the life of every child and some of the qualities we might hope to find in a father:

A father must be comfortable in expressing himself appropriately, is prepared to laugh, cry, and show love and affection. In the eyes of a child, his father is his role model, so the father must be able to communicate positively, compromise effectively, and resolve problems satisfactorily.

A father must be morally strong. Children who see their fathers do “the right thing” and do things with integrity will most likely grow up as adults valuing those qualities.

A father must value his family. A good father spends time with his family and demonstrates how important quality family time is. A child who grew up in a household with a father that’s always there during special family events and moments, will build his own family around the same set of values.

The Fatherless Homes

But not all of us are blessed with having a father figure. In fact, 23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in fatherless homes in 2014. (Source: [US Census Bureau, 2015] Living arrangements of children under 18 years and marital status of parents, by age, sex, race, and hispanic origin and selected characteristics of the child for all children: 2014. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.)

Some children are born to a single mom, others grow up with their fathers during the first few years of their lives and then become alienated because of circumstances. Still, there are other children who grow up with their father physically present yet emotionally unavailable. Having an emotionally unavailable father is, in some aspects, just the same as not having a father at all.

In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married couple families. (Source: ource: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2012). Information on poverty and income statistics: A summary of 2012 current population survey data. Retrieved from: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/12/PovertyAndIncomeEst/ib.cfm)

The influence of Fathers

One clear example of the impact of a father’s presence on his children’s life is church attendance.

If both parents go to church 72% of children will go to church too even when they’re already adults.

If only the father goes, the percentage of children who will go to church is at 55%; but if only the mother goes to church, and the father doesn’t, only 15% of the children will go to church when they’re grown. So while mothers have greater influence on some aspects of their children’s lives, church attendance is one area where the father has big influence on his children. (Source: Raising Faithful Kids in a Fast-Paced World, Dr. Paul Faulkner, 123 – 124)

A lot of fathers assume that the mothers have more influence when it comes to the spiritual activities. They assume that the strong spiritual influence of their wives will make for their failure to be a spiritual role model too to their children. This is not the case and fathers should do something about this immediately.

God teaches us the same thing in the Bible:

(Ephesians 6:4). “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done” (Psalm 78:3-4).
Dads, you hold a tremendous amount of influence to your children’s lives. So you need to take responsibility and get more involved. If you think you haven’t been the best father lately, we challenge you to make the necessary changes before it becomes too late.

Father’s Day is also an opportunity for every grown-up son to reflect on his own upbringing. Always improve what you can improve, work on not repeating the same mistakes your father commit, and always strive to become a better father when the time comes.

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