Summary: The need for fathers needs to be affirmed.
Celebrating Father’s Day today provides us an opportunity to reflect on what makes a noble father. Families need good fathers because men provide love differently than women. This isn’t to say that the love fathers provide is better than a mother’s. Instead, the love that both spouses provide is COMPLEMENTARY (both kinds of love strengthen each other), not that one is superior to the other. A good father, for instance, ensures that basic life necessities for his family are provided, so he also serves as their protector. Subsequently, he imparts a sense of trust and security for his wife and children. A good father, moreover, is a teacher who imparts wisdom to his children of how to live virtuously in the world. 2 Samuel 7:14-15 expresses this well: “I will be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him.” He, therefore, doesn’t hesitate as well to be a disciplinarian who is both caring, but stern when necessary. In everything he does, a good father is aware that he must lead by example. In short, he talks the talk but he also walks the walk.
I recall when I was an adolescent how I’d look to my father as an example of how to be a man. My father never sat down with me to verbally instruct me how to be a man, yet I did observe his actions. I also needed him to show me how to work as well as love in how he loved his wife (my mother) and so on. I looked to him as my bearing in life, just like a captain of a ship or airplane looks for physical objects to direct their vessel. He was like a mooring line for me, so his presence provided me with a sense of security. As a matter of fact, I remember how secure I felt just riding with him in the car, even though we wouldn’t speak any words to each other. His presence alone provided me comfort.
Nonetheless, without a father in one’s life, one can still reach maturity in adulthood. I believe, however, that it would be much more challenging for one to do so. Here are a few statistics that prove this fact: 85% of youths in prisons grew up in fatherless homes [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, TX Dept. of Corrections, 1992); 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father [US Dept of Health and Human Svc, 1999]; 71% of high-school dropouts [National Principals Assoc. Report]; 63% of youth suicides [US DHHS]; 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders [Ctr for Disease Control] These statistics show us how crucial a father’s presence is for his family. Most of our social problems would be greatly reduced—which would then also greatly reduce government spending—if more fathers were a loving presence for their family.
Consequently, children are entitled to have the love that a father gives to complement the love that their mother gives. Children need both kinds of love to grow spiritually and psychologically sound. Families, therefore, need good men to be husbands and fathers. You who are fathers must then recognize that your family needs you, your country needs you, the world needs you!