Pop culture and the entertainment industry serve up a steady diet of the father as the hapless buffoon of the family. The poor father in the TV show can barely create a string of coherent thoughts. And he is constantly overwhelmed with the affairs of the family. He doesn’t understand his wife. He can’t stand his kids. And so he either explodes emotionally or he retreats to the easy chair with a beer in his hand to watch TV while the family swirls around him and mocks his behavior.
This is not me. I don’t act like that. I never have. Have you?
Yet the popular image and the prevailing picture of Dad is the sitcom version. If you believe the sitcom message, most families would be better off if Dad weren’t even there. Yet how far from the truth that thought is in reality.
The foundation of our society is the family. And the foundation of our family is the father. Stay with me now. This is not a “Fathers are more important to the family than mothers” kind of article. In fact, I will be the first to admit to the central role that my wife played in the character formation, and more importantly, the Spiritual formation, of our children. Today they are the impressive, capable, responsible and mature adults that they are due in large part to her influence and her guidance.
So, why do I believe that the father is so important to the success of the family? It is simply this. As fathers, we set the tone and create an atmosphere where there is love, security, and social responsibility.
Love – If you are a father, by definition there must be a mother. And the single greatest gift that you can give to your children is to love their mother with all your heart. Loving her shows your children what love is. Loving her helps them to feel the love that you have for them. But even more importantly, as their earthly father you are providing an early glimpse into the love of their Heavenly Father. And if you can’t demonstrate love to them, how will they come to accept God’s love?
Security – You set the tone for security and stability in the home. I don’t mean physical security in this situation. Although that is certainly worthy of consideration in a later article. I mean security as it relates to stability. Your children need to see you go off every day to earn a living for them and the entire family. But, they need to see you return every night and they need to lay their heads on their pillows every night secure in the knowledge that Daddy always comes home to us. Are there situations where fathers have to travel from time to time for the sake of their job? Of course they do. That is not the kind of leaving that I meant. I mean the kind of going that always leads to coming home and the comfort in knowing that Dad will never leave us.
Social Responsibility – This is where the leadership modelling takes place. Our role as fathers is to teach, to mentor, to lead by example and to show our children that there is responsibility that goes along with being a grown-up. This is particularly true as it relates to the relationship between a father and a son. Fathers, you are showing them what it is to be a man and what it is to be a husband and what it is to be a father. You are modelling for them how they will treat the ones that will come after them.
These are heavy responsibilities that come with being a father. No one told us it would be easy. But it does not have to be overwhelming. There is still hope because it is never too late to begin the journey toward being the kind of father that understands the importance of love, security, and social responsibility.
It is Father’s Day in just a few days. I can’t wait! I will be with my father. I will be with my son. And I will be with nearly all of my immediate family. We will eat together. We will laugh. Some will cry.
But I will lay my head down that night and I will be thankful for a few things. I will be thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally and who gave Himself as a ransom for me and taught me how to love. I will be thankful for a biological father who prayed for me every morning (and who still does to this day) and who modelled Godly manhood and gave me a great head start into adulthood. I will be thankful for my wife who made me a father 29 years ago and who taught me many things about being a parent. I will be thankful for my children who make me proud every day of my life. And I will be thankful that they have made it possible for me to see the next generation and to hold them in my arms for a little while and in my heart for eternity.
The media is wrong. I am not a buffoon. And I certainly don’t need another tie. I just need to get up tomorrow morning and earn the love and respect of my family one more day. Will you join me in one more day of faithfully being the “Man of the house”?
Photo credit: scribbletaylor / Foter / (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo credit: Terry Madeley / Foter / (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: rustytanton / Foter / (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Terry Madeley / Foter / (CC BY 2.0)