I was spoiled by my family yesterday. The five of us (plus our Rough Collie) took a rigorous Father’s Day hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, followed by appetisers and beverages at a local brewery. After late afternoon showers and naps, we prepared supper together and kept the day’s celebration going. Heading to bed that evening, I told Melissa that I really felt honoured by my family.
My own father died a year before Melissa and I tied the knot, and five years before our first child was born. This unfortunate order of events still makes me feel sad, knowing my dad would have savoured time playing, laughing and snuggling with these little ones who delight and challenge us. What I wouldn’t give for a few more moments with him!
Dads have always been hugely important. Taking nothing away from the beautiful and unique indispensability of motherhood, fathers are the key to the emotional and spiritual health of the home. The positive and negative consequences of fathering are all too evident in the counseling office. I also see the effects of my own inconsistencies at my house. Yes — families that lack a present and active father can still function, but they probably won’t reach their full healthy potential without his leadership.
Some interesting stats from The National Fatherhood Initiative …
Here’s prescriptive wisdom that we don’t hear from our culture: healthy male and female sexuality are linked to the relationship between a child and his father. A daughter needs a solid relationship with a sensitive, admiring and invested father in order to resist pressure to form premature relationships with men (many of whom are more than willing to fill the void). And, a son needs a salient and strong father who will model healthy masculinity day in and day out — something mother isn’t designed for, or even capable of doing.
Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”Charles Kettering
Even more significant is the high correlation between critical, emotionally-detached or physically-absent dads and their sons who later as adults struggle with same-gender attraction. So, fathers are pivotal influences on whether the next generation engages in high risk social or sexual acting-out, or takes a healthier path.
I had lunch today with a friend and father whom I admire. He has way more kids than me, but he had a substantial head start. (No way I’d ever catch him if I was changing my first diaper at age 45!).
Around his supper table this same Father’s Day, one of his daughters said that her dad’s habit of asking forgiveness from his kids when he messed up made a huge impression on her life.
It’s good for us to celebrate the high responsibility and privilege of fatherhood — definitely for more than one day a year! There’s a lot riding on the broad shoulders of a dad. A father needs more than neckties — he needs our ongoing respect, affirmation, appreciation, and encouragment to keep his marriage and family first.
Even though Father’s Day has passed, please take a moment this week to encourage a married or single dad. Now more than ever, fathers need our prayers.
Blessings on your home,