Appreciating the strength and leadership of fatherhood
The whole idea of fatherhood seems to have changed. In this age of one-parent families in which the present parent is overwhelmingly the mom, we accepted and embraced minimizing the need of a living-at-home dad. I certainly understand not wanting any child to feel inferior because they don’t have a dad in their life, but does that justify marginalizing every dad? So, what is the role of fatherhood? Are there principles and practices of fathering that are concrete and should never change? How do we take the “old-fashioned” scriptural ways and apply them to men raising children in the 21st century? What are the most important things Christian dads should be aware of? How do fathers raise their children in an age where we have now begun to pronounce masculinity as toxic?
Over 20 percent of children in the United States are raised in homes without a father. Other statistics show that dropping out of high school, teenage pregnancy, crime and incarceration rates are excessively higher among individuals who come from fatherless homes. These statistics are tragic but telling. In spite of the resounding and mounting resistance to the whole idea of manliness within a family, one thing should be clear: We need fathers – strong men who care for, go out of their way for and lead their families.
For Christians, a curious question arises out of this dilemma. With fatherhood as such a lynchpin to social success, why doesn’t the Bible have full chapters about it? Certain texts give fathering advice. Some examples are specific verses in Proverbs and sections in the books of Ephesians and Colossians that give sound advice. Why not more? Because fatherhood was a natural expectation for men back then. It was a disgrace to poorly support your family and a rare occurrence to be an absentee dad. Jewish and Christian Men in ancient times knew their place was not only with their families, it was to lead them in a godly way.
The best way to find deep and profound scriptural advice for fathers is to examine a good father from those days. Check out our June 17, 2019 podcast, “Is Fatherhood Still Vital?” for more. We closely observe how Joseph was called upon to be the father of Jesus. We typically see Joseph in almost the same way we would view an “extra” in a movie. Sure, he was there, and sure he had something to do with the story, but Mary and Jesus were the main characters. News flash! Nothing could be further from the truth! Joseph’s fatherhood story reveals clear and specific lessons regarding the “how to” of fatherhood. It is also an inspirational look at a man who willingly took on a monumental task of historic proportions.
Fatherhood is crucial. Whether we are a dad or not, we still need to understand what it requires and how it works. Once we embrace the principles of being a dad, we can use them in our experiences to encourage, to support and even lead others to a more fulfilling life!
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