Present Fathers

With Father’s Day coming up, fatherhood is very much on my mind. With three young children of my own, I realize daily how much kids need their dad to be actively involved in their lives. Dads, we have a God-ordained role that no one else can fill. We have the highest of responsibilities to care for our children, not in the ways they want but in the ways they need. Being a good father— which actually starts with being a good husband—is the most important job a man has. 

The failure of fathers in our country is well documented. Consider this: “There is a father absence crisis in America. According to the US Census Bureau, 18.3 million children, 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today.” (National Fatherhood Initiative) This is tragic! In America, 25% of our children don’t have any type of father figure in the home. And I can’t help but wonder how many of the other 75% have abusive or absent dads. Just google “Benefits of Father Involvement.” You can read for a very long time all the ways dads matter to their kids. 

Men, we can do better. We must do better. I know some of your stories, stories of deep pain and even damage inflicted by your own father. Yes, it runs deep. The great news is God can break that destructive chain. You can be like your heavenly Father rather than your earthly one. 

I also know some of you have deep regrets about the kind of dad you’ve been to your now-grown kids. Here’s the thing: once a dad, always a dad. Fathering looks different with adult children. You don’t need to tell them to put their shoes on anymore, but you still have an important role to play. Take it from me. Adult kids need their dads. I need my dad. Maybe it’s time to step toward your adult children, especially if you are feeling regret. 

There’s no time like now to be engaged as a dad. I’m praying you’ll be a present father. I hope you’ll pray the same for me.

Discussion: Find a few people to talk through the following tips. Which ones do you think would be most impactful for you to integrate into your life? What do you do to be successful in any of these areas?   

Real Simple Tips for Fatherhood (this is not an exhaustive list): 

  1. Love the mother of your children well. 
  2. Let your kids hear you pray for them.
  3. Bring your family to church and participate. 
  4. Get home from work on time. 
  5. Don’t work when you’re off work. 
  6. When you are not working, spend the majority of your time with your family.
  7. Play with your kids. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are present. 
  8. Say “I love you” every day. 
  9. When you are angry, put yourself on time-out. 
  10. Quickly acknowledge your own mistakes (“I was wrong”) and actively apologize (“I’m sorry; please forgive me”) whenever it might be appropriate. 

What other tips can you add to be a present father?