We are in a crisis of men these days, it seems. Godly men are in shorter supply. Do a quick Google search and you quickly find some of the ramifications of absentee fatherhood on our society.
When I arrived in our new city, Lexington, Kentucky, I went searching for the “top needs” of the community. I believe the church should be an agent of positive change in a community. One of the key needs is addressing the issue of the fatherless home. I suspect my community is not much different from any other community in our country.
And, unfortuantely, I see some of the same issues in the church. I see dozens of families with absentee dads. They are present – in the sense they are still in the home – but, they are so involved in activities other than fathering I fear their children are missing the best they have to offer.
As a fellow dad, I want to challenge my male readers. This is for you fathers and fathers-to-be.
Here are 5 critical needs for dads:
Shape up – “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11) The privilege of fatherhood should sober us into the responsibility of fatherhood. I’ve met a lot of dads (me at times) who need to grow up so we can better help our kids do the same some day. I am not suggesting we stop having fun. I hope that never stops for me. I’m speaking of childlike immaturity that injures healthy relationships. I can never forget that my children will often be partially shaped for life by my example. For example: Where do you need to put away childish ways? Is it with your senseless anger? Is it in your pity party practices? Are you like a toddler when it comes to patience? Are you selfish with your toys?
Step up – I’ve never known a godly woman who didn’t want her husband to take the godly role of spiritual leadership. I’ve known lots of men who didn’t know how so they never even try. Men, we need to take an active leadership role in our home. We need to lead our families boldly towards Christ. The world isn’t going to do this for us and neither should the church have to do it. The church should be our partners, but our role as dads is to lead. Do it! In what ways do you need to better lead your home?
Show up – That means “Be there”. Don’t dump the responsibility for your home on your wife. Be there from the crying babies and the dirty diapers, to the rebellious teenager and the sex talk. Your children will spell your influence in their life many times with one word…TIME. Would your children say they feel they are a priority in your schedule and your attention?
Stand up – “As for me and my house…” Men, we need to protect our family, wherever possible, from the ills of this world. When my boys were young, I monitored what we watched on television and what we listened to on the radio. I enforced Scripture in the home as best I could. I led our family to discuss Biblical principals. I wasn’t always popular with them for every decision I made, but I’m thankful today for the foundation my boys have and the Christian lives they are living. I believe much of that is a direct result of decisions Cheryl and I made, (and Cheryl allowed me to make) to take a stand in our home when the boys were young. Men, what stand do you need to take to better lead your family towards truth?
Serve up – I heard a preacher many years ago, early in my life as a husband and father, that he wanted to “out serve” his family. I’ve set that as a goal ever since. I want my wife and children to recognize I’m willing to sacrifice my desires for theirs. I heard a story of a family who never knew their father’s favorite piece of fried chicken was the leg. He never ate it. Years later they learned it was because he thought it was the best piece and so he always saved it for them. I’m not advocating you skip the chicken leg, but that man had an attitude of sacrifice. That level of commitment won’t be done holding the television remote all the time. It will more likely be done holding a wash rag and a bucket of water. How can you better serve your family?
This is a tough stuff. I know it. When I offer such a challenge I sometimes hear from men who say too much is expected of men already and I shouldn’t bash them more. They mention the sitcoms where the man is always made out to be the idiot who never does the right thing. I get all that. And, I agree. This is not intended to be more stress, but I believe we need more accountability not less. More leadership. Not less. We need to raise the standard for authentic manhood. It’s been lowered enough. We need men willing to defy the norms and be men of God. Men who are bold in their love of family, bold in their faith in God, and bold in guiding their family to better reflect Christ to the world.
Here’s to the challenge men! I’m praying for you as you love and serve your families.
Happy Father’s Day Dad! I believe in you!
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