The following is an interview of the editor on the subject of fatherhood.:
Question: This is a topic contrary to political correctness, some might say that it is irrelevant in today’s society which champions all things feminine, single parenthood, gay parenting, and generally ignores the role of fathers. Yet, statistics stands out:
– 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census), 5 times the average.
– 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, 32 times the average.
– 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
– 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
– 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report).
How important is fatherhood to the fabric of any society?
Reply: It is very important to have both a mother and a father. Whereas mothers play an indispensable role in nurturing a child, protecting it and always being its foremost advocate, one primary role of a father is making sure a child is encouraged to stand on his/her own and accepts responsibilities for their actions. While a mother can participate in this also it is my experience that mothers are loth to see their children step out into anything where they might fail or get hurt in some way. Failures are the building blocks of success and a father has a unique role to play here. It is not that a father wants to see his child hurt or fail but should desire to encourage them to step out when they come of age, to fly if you will, and grab the destiny that God has for them. Father’s also can sometimes discipline more easily than mothers for the same reason and this is something that is needed to properly develop a child. Without father’s we would have more fearful/timid children with less confidence to assume their role in the world. Having said that, there are many examples of single mothers raising fine children as God tends to take over as Father and gives compensations as discussed below.
Question: No father is perfect, some are very poor examples, but what is your experience and belief regarding the biblical model of fatherhood?
Reply: To mirror our father God, even though imperfectly. A father should have a sacrificial love for his child, provide for them, spend quality time with them and, most importantly, see that they are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). If a son/daughter rebells a Father should not enable them by constantly bailing them out of their problems but allow their circumstances to bring them back as with the Prodigal Son. Likewise, a son/daughter should always know they can come home with forgiveness extended no matter what they might have done.
Question: What has caused this erosion of fatherhood in the families of American society? Are men alone to blame for abandoning or failing their children?
Reply: Each man that fails his family has the blame. They are alone responsible for their actions and will answer to God (I Timothy 5:8). The increased feminization of our times has caused women to assert roles in the home and elsewhere that are not biblical. The man is the head of the family, although he should act in that role in a sacrificial way, and he should take the lead in instructing the children as discussed above.
Question: What would you say to those who have had bad fathers or none at all?
Reply: I have often noticed how someone with a bad father or mother or spouse or other difficult situation will have God give compensations to them. In other words, those who are given less in the way of parent or spouse often are given other unique blessings. I know of one situation where a wife had a very difficult husband, although not physically abusive. She does not believe in divorce for any reason and has stayed with him in a long unhappy marriage. I have always noticed a supernatural contentedness in this person, so much so that I have often commented to my wife how impressed I am with her contentment compared to other people. This is God giving supernatural contentment as after all he is the only source of true contentment. In regard to difficult fathers, I believe a son/daughter can actually benefit from the father’s failings as it teaches them how not to act while at the same time they can benefit from the same father’s strengths. No father is all good and very few are all bad. You will be a better father yourself from this lesson and you can wait for the compensations sent from God to make it easier to bear. For those without a father, I would say in the same vein that God is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and what better father can you have. In the meantime, love your Mother and watch after her as she may have a hard road without a Father. God is in control. If you submit your life to Him you will have a fruitful life.
Question: What does the Bible say about the importance of fatherhood? What encouragement can you offer to fathers as they struggle in a society that demeans, criticizes, and accuses their role as leader of the family.
Reply: As discussed above a Father should take the lead in training up a child in the way he/she should go (Proverbs 22:6) and be a rock the children can rely on for support, counsel, love and security. They are the head of the home and primarily responsible for the direction the children take in life – at least their start. In regard to encouragement, I would say to be strong in the Lord, stand up and assert your God given role and do not consider what the world has to say about it (Joshua 1:9). A Father answers to God for his actions as all do and not to the world, so the world’s opinion is of no concern to a Christian.
Question: What is necessary to address this issue in the congregation of believers and society at large?
Reply: Simply for our pastors and teachers to preach the Word of God including a father’s role in the home and family. Nothing else matters really. Only God’s Word can change hearts and the world will always be opposed to the Truth. But be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world. John 16:33.