My dad was a heavy equipment operator. I believed he could run anything that had a motor. As a youngster, I went to work with him occasionally. On one job, he ran a gigantic electro magnetic crane on train tracks in a scrap iron yard. To me, the President of the United States may have had a more important job, but not by much. Proverbs 17:6 surely described me when it said, “the glory of sons is their fathers.” There is something about fathers that touches your life—for life.
Sunday is Father’s Day in the United States. Though not as popular as Mother’s Day, the role of dads is just as important. Fathers and mothers are not in competition in God’s plan for humanity—but are to form a complementary union. God’s plan for the family cannot be improved. When we alter His blueprint for the home, we do so to our peril.
Amazingly, God’s Word has much more to say about fathers than it does about mothers. The word “father” and the derivatives is found 1,664 times in Scripture, while the word “mother” and related titles are used 327 times. The reason fathers are addressed five times more than mothers is debatable. It could be that men are more stubborn and don’t listen well. But it is probably because God wants fathers to recognize their responsibility to lead in the home.
Fathers play a huge role in the healthy development of their children. The importance of his role in the family cannot be overstated. But sadly, the last U. S. Census reported 24 million children live in a home in which the father is absent. That means one of every three children in America is growing up without a dad.
The tragedy of fatherless homes is immense. Nationwide statistics from July, 2012 reveal: Children who grow up without a father—comprise 85% of prison convicts; are twice as likely to end up in jail; and are twice as likely to drop out of school. These children brought up without their fathers comprise 75% of teen suicides, and are 10 times more likely to be drug abusers.
In the June 23, 2011 edition of Psychology Today, Dr Ditta Oliker wrote: “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and as they grow older, have better social connections. Children with involved, caring fathers also have better educational outcomes. The influence of a father’s involvement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies have found that an active style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents.”
Another surprising statistic about fatherhood is related to church attendance. If a mother attends church regularly with her children, but without the father, only 2% of her children will choose to become regular churchgoers as adults. However, if a father attends church regularly with his children, even without the mother, 44% of his children will choose to become regular churchgoers.
The Bible has much to say about the role of parents, in the upbringing of children. God calls children “a heritage from the LORD” (Psalm 127:3). He makes it clear that they are to be nourished and trained by parents, who then dispense them toward a target: “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (verse 4). So, “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!” (verse 5).
So, as a father, how can you best lead and equip your children?
ONE: Fathers Must Love the Lord—“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).
A concerned, godly father will spend time in God’s Word, and learn to love Him with all his heart. Faith in Christ can change your life for the better, here—and hereafter. “The Faith of our Fathers” is more than a song.
TWO: Fathers Must Teach their Children—“You shall teach them diligently to your children” (verse 7).
The Hebrew word for “teach” literally means to sharpen, with the idea of piercing your child’s heart and mind with Bible truth. Fathers need to step up and communicate God’s Word to their children. Be alert for teaching opportunities in everyday life that they can apply to life.
THREE: Fathers Must Model Truth in Life—“You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (verse 8).
Father, your children need to see you living out Bible principles. Too many times dads say one thing and do another. No matter what you say with your lips, your life speaks louder. Children recognize that what you really believe is what you actually do. If you want your children to love and follow God—you must truly love and follow Him.
Bible truth is best communicated during the normal circumstances of daily life. When children rise and prepare for the day, teach them about God. When you, your wife and children sit at the table for a meal, give thanks and talk about things of the Lord. When you drive them—walk with them—when you put them to bed at night—pray with and teach them about God.
Robert L. Backman nailed it when he said, “‘Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend.” Amen! Hope you have a Happy Fathers Day!