Fatherlessness and weak fatherhood is one of the biggest problems on this earth, and it is so common. We all have a deep need for fatherhood, but it is not easy for Fathers to be all they can be.
God showed up and described himself as a father, and then went to work providing everything we need, giving us challenges to help us grow, and being the God of all comfort. Wow, let’s do this for our kids.
If men just do what God does for their own family, all will be well. We have to overcome ourselves to get there.
An Example of Impact of Fathers in my Family
Without a good example of fatherhood, boys are in deep trouble to be good fathers. My father had no mother from age 5 (mother died in childbirth of his 2d sister), and he was left with a deeply irresponsible father.
I would give his father a 200/1000 on the scale of fatherhood. He did not abandon his 3 kids. That is something. But beyond that he made no connection with his only son. He made little money and mostly spent it on himself and various women. Seems neglect of children was his biggest gap. He was not all bad.
My Dad did infinitely better. Out of four children, he lost all relationship with one and had distant relationships with the other three, however, he was responsible. He earned money and came home every night. As my father, he occasionally played games with me but less with my other siblings. He loved my mom deeply and all their lives together till old age when they passed away. All four of his kids became productive citizens. I would say he gets 65/100.
My Dad went to church but had no faith, so he learned morality. Considering his deep childhood hurts and total lack of good male bonding or fatherhood model, I would say he was amazing. How many men can make the jump from a father who got 200/100 to being 65o/100? He credits his maternal grandmother who raised him for 2.5 years for teaching him what love is.
The Deep Need for Fatherhood is Limitless
The deep gaps in my family led me to find God at age 11. Or I could say, I was open when God knocked. As a young man, I spent time hanging out with Christian families and absorbing something more, but I can say, God was also working inside me to make me more open to be something for my kids. I also read books on parenting and went to seminars. I was teachable and so could absorb from many sources.
Fatherhood means loving your wife deeply and faithfully while seeing each child as infinitely valuable and unique in God’s sight. Children need all of that quality from their Dad and then quantity time as well. It is a tall order and needs so much strength inside us. No amount is too much. I just asked my 17 year old son if he could benefit from my being twice as good. He immediately nodded. All of us are that way. We have limitless need for fatherhood.
Fatherhood is shockingly important. It gives children wings to fly or an anchor to hold them down all their lives.
When Fatherhood Fails Results Are So Bad
My daughter is spending her summer and likely the next school year (gap year) in the hood in inner city Philadelphia connecting with children there. The biggest problem in the inner city culture is fatherlessness. Most kids do not know who their father is, but know that all their siblings are only half siblings. Who can grow up to be a good man living in that environment? My father had a negligent Dad. The kids in the hood have little example of excellent healthy masculinity at all and most especially fatherhood. They see many toxic examples. Generation to generation it is infinitely hard to break the cycle. See this LinkedIn link and the fatherlessness link as well. The links are slightly political but describe a problem. Let’s think of how all us men get lost being fathers and the bd results. Women do not get lost like this generally.
An Example of Fatherhood Hurtles
I know a guy and woman who came to faith and got married rather than just live together. He adopted her 7 year old boy and had an 8 year old boy himself which his parents had raised. They became a family of 4. I met his father. His father was a deeply selfish man who either beat or disdained his kids.
The guy who came to faith changed a lot, but I would never say he became a competent father. The woman made great strides and became a competent wife and mother. The man played video games and was afraid of hard work. His dignity was often his God.
He had a terrible father, and it deeply limits him. His boys are not great, but in Christ, they are a much better family than he grew up in. Let’s get unstuck. See also Not Easy for Men to Be Better Than Their Father.
As a man who wants to do better, I often felt awkward or ashamed to bend down to be with the kids for example. It was beyond reach for me to play pretend with my daughters. I felt silly. Like my dignity was my God and stood above my love for my daughters. Jesus did not stand on dignity when he went to the Cross for us. God help us men. I weekly brought them to the nearby giant zoo and played board games with them a lot. It was so fun. But I was stuck on pretending. I could push my kids to reach higher, but had trouble caring to comfort. It took me 10 years to make a good step there.
Lets Honor and Seek Fatherhood
So men, find what you can to engage your kids and see them as something great just as God does. God makes no trash. If your kid is not what you want, then think how to engage in his world and see him. He is your responsibility to reach and give him hope. When you face reticence in your heart to enter their world, pray more and see that you made a God of your dignity. Children do not need our money as much as they need us to enter their world and own pieces of that world by seeing the value in their play. Can we simply believe in them even as God believes in us? Can we reach down to see our wives and not be caught up in our dignity here either? The children definitely need us to love our wives (their mother). The heavy lifting is facing our dignity and making it bow to our love for our children and our wife.