My June 25 Perspectives article was a post-Father’s Day reflection on the importance of healthy fatherly influence. My intention was to follow it last week with another look at the same topic, but the Supreme Court decision on same-gender marriage interfered. So here we go.
Let’s begin with this question: Wouldn’t it be great if every person born into this world would be blessed with a positive paternal experience? Sadly, that’s simply not the reality.
By the grace of God some do just fine in life without the influence of a mature, responsible, godly father. In other cases, the absence of positive male parental guidance results in disrespect for authority and lack of development of proper boundaries. Not infrequently in such cases, life with minimal meaning, purpose or productivity, or something much worse, is the end result.
This topic has been researched for years, with conclusions similar to this one:
“A review of literature relevant to delinquency and adolescent behavioral and academic success revealed that there may be a correlation between a male role-model and the teaching of self-control and socially appropriate behaviors. Indeed … compared to children raised in two-parent homes, children who grow up without their fathers have significantly worse outcomes, on average, on almost every measure of wellbeing.” (Jennifer Flood Eastin: Impact of Absent Father-Figures on Male Subjects and the Correlation to Juvenile Delinquency—http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4332/)
What’s the bottom line? Consider these encouragements:
- If you are blessed with a father who was or still is a positive role model for you of what it means to be a Christian person, especially expressing unequivocal love, care, guidance and direction in your life, thank God for that wonderful blessing!
- If that blessed man is still alive, let him know how much his influence has meant to you. A phone call, handwritten note, email or text message will make his day!
- If you are a father, do not underestimate the importance of your presence, attention and guidance in the life of your child, regardless of his or her age. A loving, caring, affirming, encouraging, godly father (and mother) are the most important people in a person’s life.
- Speaking of mothers, if you are a father, do not underestimate the lasting impression on your child made by the way you love, respect and cherish your wife. Especially in relationships between husbands and wives, actions speak louder than words!
- In relating both to spouses and to children, remember the adage: Wives and children spell love T-I-M-E!
It’s my prayer that your life has been molded and shaped by a positive paternal experience. If so, join me in thanking God for the lifelong influence of a good and godly father! If that’s not the case, don’t hesitate to let me know. Perhaps I can help.