There’s a growing tendency in our culture to minimize the importance of the father’s role in the family. In fact, there have even been studies that attempt to demonstrate the father’s place in the family is not that important to the family’s overall health and functionality. It’s just not true!
Of course, there are other ways families can rally to help offset the absence of a father. Thousands upon thousands of godly single moms labor faithfully to nurture their children toward healthy, productive adult life. But even these moms know their love and efforts aren’t enough, that their children need the balancing influence of a male presence. And thank God again for godly brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and others standing in the gap for children lacking their father’s presence. But those exceptions only help prove the rule: a father’s role isn’t optional.
Yet while a father’s role isn’t optional, it is temporary. One expert states that about 90% of a child’s personality has been set in place by age six. What that means, guys, is that every day counts. Every day that passes is a day fathers are impacting their children with some idea of what fatherhood is about’ideas that will greatly influence their understanding of what the fatherhood of God is all about. My point is this dads: be present, and live in the present.
Let me suggest three things that every father can focus on today’and everyday’that are mandatory for accomplishing God’s purposes in the lives of your children.
First, fathers must love God. The only way you can be assured your child will learn the most important truths in life’truths about living with faith, obedience, and joy as a follower of Jesus’is knowing those truths yourself and assuming the responsibility for teaching them to your children. You can’t give what you yourself don’t possess.
Second, fathers must love their own fathers. I know for many men that’s a tall order’and often for very good reasons. Nonetheless, being a good father means being a loving son. If your father hasn’t, can’t, or won’t provide the love you need from him, you must get it from God Himself. Fathers must find healing for their own broken hearts to prevent breaking the hearts of their children.
Third, fathers must love their wives. Parenting is a partnership. And nothing will embitter children more than living with a mother who’s been turned resentful by the callous affections of their father.
If you as a father will set your hearts on these three loves, all the other details of raising children will work themselves out.
A motivational speaker noted in his talk that after age forty, men typically possess no close friends. What’s a man to do? We can learn from him. When he and his fianc’e were planning their wedding, he realized he didn’t have a single male friend whom he considered close enough to be his best man.
This shocking realization brought impetus for change. He identified two men he knew that shared his faith and values. Then he prayerfully approached them regarding the possibility of exploring and developing long-term friendships. They both responded positively, and they’ve continued a deep, trusting relationship for several decades. From those relationships came the insights for a book, The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship, written by David Bentall It’s a great resource for men on the subject of friendship.
Every man without at least one close friend is missing three important things: (1) someone to walk with despite failures, (2) someone to explore a vision for life with, and (3) someone to face the darkness of our world with.
If you’re looking for reasons to seek and build friendships with other men, these are as good as any.