Kids & Parenting
Fathers: Relevant or Irrelevant?
by Kevin Probst
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Jennifer Anniston, the 42 year old actress from the popular sitcom, Friends, made a controversial statement when she insinuated that fathers are often inconvenient and when it comes to child rearing they can be quite optional. She seems dedicated to promoting the non-traditional family.
The traditional family: father, mother, children and a dog name Spot has worked quite well now for over 6,000 years. The traditional family is biblical, it was the original plan of God. God determined from the beginning that a man needs a woman, a woman needs a man and he put within them a natural yearning for children and a child needs a mother…and a child needs a father.
Memo to Jennifer Anniston; as a Hollywood elite, you are extremely wealthy and disconnected from reality. Out here in the real world children who grow up in single parent homes are poverty stricken. Divorce may be cool in Hollywood. It may be cool to be a single mother and turn your children over to the nanny for nurturing but out here 75% of children growing up in single parent homes are suffering from poverty.
America is being judged by a just God because we’ve turned our back on the traditional values taught in scripture regarding the traditional family. If Jennifer Anniston’s model is so much better than God’s model, consider the following:
1. Poverty. Young children living with unmarried mothers are five times as likely to be poor and ten times as likely to be extremely poor. (National Center for Children in Poverty)
2. Substance Abuse. "Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
3. Physical and Emotional Health. “Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
4. Education. “Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
5. Crime. “10 times more likely to become a chronic juvenile offender if male and born to an unmarried teen mother.” ("Maternal and Perinatal Risk Factors for Later Delinquency." Pediatrics 99, 1997)
Here is the challenge: go to your local jail or to the nearest prison and try to find one young man there who had a wonderful, godly father and who enjoyed a deep and meaningful relationship with such a father.
6. Sexual Activity. “Adolescent females between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex” (Contextual Effects on the Sexual Behavior of Adolescent Women." Journal of Marriage and Family 56, 1994)
There was a bumper sticker years ago that said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” There may be some truth in that. It depends on what kind of man he is. If he is a thirty year old couch potato addicted to video games still living with his parents or depending on his wife to bring home a pay check…well, he is pretty useless.
Women need men of integrity, godly men dedicated to honesty and purity and committed to the task of caring for his wife and nurturing his children in the fear of the Lord. Every woman needs a man like this. Every child needs a father who will demonstrate to them the traits of a heavenly Father. Every son needs a father to pattern for him what it means to be a masculine, godly man. Every daughter needs a father to provide for her the assurance that she has worth, that she is beautiful and has great value.
Boys who grow up without fathers will seek to fill the empty security void in their lives. They often find role models that are unkind and even cruel to them. Almost all members in the street gangs are fatherless boys looking for some sort of protection and security that absent fathers fail to provide.
Daughters who grow up without fathers will seek to fill the empty hole in their hearts that should be filled with man-love. If there is no father to fill that void they often turn to other males who often say words they want to hear in order to encourage her to give them what they want and then they dump her like a piece of trash and the wound he put in her heart follows her forever.
Our culture is full of men and women who are emotionally wounded and crippled because dad was absent or because dad didn’t do his job.
Some of our children are fatherless because of unfortunate circumstances. A sickness or premature death may have taken the father away. These children need desperately to know the love of a heavenly Father. When an earthly father’s loving voice is silent, when his loving arms are still, great comfort can be found by a Father who is perfect and faithful, a rock and fortress for every difficulty in life.
When I die, I don’t want my children to remember me as just a teacher, or a preacher. I don’t want them to remember me for the house I lived in or the car I drove or the clothes I wore. I want my children to say, “My dad loved God. My dad’s life reflected the life of Christ. I learned the love of Christ because I saw it in the heart of my dad.”
Fathers, when you come to the end of the road and you look back and reflect won’t you say:
“I wish I’d told my wife ‘I love you’ more than I did. I wish I’d spend more time just listening to her share her heart with me.”
“I wish I’d been more honest with my family and my children about my own weaknesses. I wish I hadn’t put up pretenses. I wish I would have made ‘being like dad’ more achievable.”
“I wish I had prayed more with my family. I wish I would have spent more time pointing to Christ rather than drawing attention to myself.”
“I wish I’d made more memories with my family. I wish I would have wrapped my arms around them and said, ‘I love you’ more often.”
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