I don’t typically like to brag, but I have a great father. When I was a kid, he would always encourage me to work hard and try new things. If I developed an interest in something, so would he. My dad taught me how to fish, how to ride a bike, the best way to throw a baseball, and how to drive a car (slowly, when you’re alone in a large, empty parking lot). Above all though, my father has always carried a deep and abiding love for Christ.
I can still remember fidgeting after many a dinner, when my father would pull out his Egermeier’s Bible and read to the family from scripture. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the person, or Christian, I am today if it wasn’t for my father. Sadly, over the past couple of years I’ve come to realize I’m something of an exception. Good father figures are becoming a rare fixture for today’s young men, and the effect it’s having on their lives has been devastating. Over at Gospel Relevance, blogger David Qaoud writes,
“It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of a father in the family household. Without him, many of us men eventually crumble without ever realizing why. We want to blame the world for something our dads should have done.”
“What does this look like with men? It may look like: Chauvinistic behavior which often leads to sexually and verbally abusing women.
- Severe feelings of competition with other men, mostly due to anger and pride.
- A sense of over-dependence, unable to trust anyone since your dad never came through.
- A difficult time being vulnerable, which may reveal feeling exposed or “found out.”
- Highly argumentative – always ready to pick a fight, and never willing to lose one for the right reasons.”
Right now our world has a lot of “daddy issues”. Actually, that’s not fair. To call it a “daddy issues” is to minimize the true sense of loss these young men often feel. The absence of a good father figure in one’s life can be as painful and haunting as a phantom limb. As Christians, this should not only concern us because of the well-being of the next generation, but also because it reflects our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The Bible has instructed Christian men to be a stable presence in the life of their son,
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” - Ephesians 6:4
“For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, 'Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.'” - Proverbs 4:3-5
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” - Proverbs 22:6
If we hope to fight off this plague of fatherlessness, Christian must start by recognizing the symptoms in those around them and taking responsibility. For those who have tried to fill the void with pride, aggression, or ridged independence, it’s time to acknowledge your loss and seek help. If you’re a parent, remember that your presence in the life of your child is invaluable, and make an effort to connect with them in all things. Our Heavenly Father so loved the world that He sent his only son to die for us (John 3:16). Earthly fathers, God is commanding you to live for yours!
What about you? Do you believe our culture is having trouble with fathers? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
(Image courtesy of thinkstock)
**Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com