“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
No statistic is more troubling than this: almost 40% of all births in America are born out of wedlock. That means that for almost 40% of all children, their lives begin without the presence of a father in the home. But it’s even more tragic in the African American community, where two-thirds of all births are illegitimate. And, for those lucky few children who have a dad in residence, often, the light’s just not on. Either he is passive in his leadership role with the children, or so involved in his career that he is essentially nonexistent in the home. Certainly, what we are seeing in our contemporary society is the crisis of the absentee dad. It is terrifying to think what this means to our nation’s future.
God’s Word is clear that the father is to be the spiritual leader with a spirit of love for his wife and his children. This is not a dictatorial or authoritarian leadership, it’s Christ-centered servant leadership. It requires understanding of the fragile psyche of a child in the home that needs to be built up and not torn down. It means understanding the importance of discipline in the child’s life. And it involves loving instruction, explaining what is right and wrong.
The first step in being a good father – as with every other aspect of success – is simply showing up. Then, when we show up, let’s move it up a notch to be the kind of dad God expects us to be.