Q. We hear so much in the media about the short comings of fathers. They may be abusive, absent, emotionally distant, workaholics, self-centered, immature and unable to communicate - the list is endless. Don’t most fathers do the best they can? If so, we should appreciate fathers.
A. Father bashing does seem to predominate in our culture. Most television shows picture Dad as either absent, uninvolved or not capable. Rarely is Dad pictured on TV as a central figure in a child’s life.
We read the statistics that four out of ten children don’t live with their biological father and we become even more critical of fathers. We overlook the fact that six of the ten children are living with their biological fathers. In addition the four children not living with their biological father may see him on a regular basis, may have a very caring step father or other substitute father such as an uncle or a grandfather. We should appreciate fathers.
The break up of families due to divorce is difficult on children. However, fathers seem to receive more than their share of the blame. The divorced father is often pushed out of the child’s life by the custody arrangements or the demands of his work. Most fathers, I believe, want to be good fathers and they do the best they can to be involved in the lives of their children.
What are many fathers doing right? Here’s a list of things to help us appreciate fathers.
1. Most fathers are working very hard to support their family. Many work long hours at jobs they don’t enjoy. Many have jobs that are stressful or physically demanding. Many have jobs requiring travel away from the family. Many work over time, work a second job or work changing shifts so that their family will have a higher standard of living or so Mom can be at home with the children.
2. Fathers have typically been the disciplinarian in the family. Children need to know the boundaries of appropriate behavior. Many Dads set these boundaries with kindness and authority.
3. More fathers share household chores and child care than in the past. For some, this is awkward and seems unmanly as their own fathers never helped around the house. But they are trying to learn to be equal partners with their wife. Men often cut the grass, do home repairs, and handle automobile maintenance.
4. Most Fathers spend time with their children and play with them. They take children to activities, to the park and to the store. They read to them. They play games with them. They help with school projects, Cub Scouts and Little League.
5. More and more fathers are learning to show affection openly to their wives and their children. They want to have close connections but have been taught to hide their emotions and “be strong.” This means they must struggle against their prior conditioning to give hugs or to say “I love you.” But many are doing this.
6. Fathers teach children many things. Fathers teach children how to throw a ball, swing a bat or catch a fish. They teach them, even without words, what it means to be masculine. They teach their children right from wrong and about faith in God. They may even help teach their children the facts of life - probably in more detail and with more clarity about their standards than their fathers did.
No father is perfect. But many fathers are working hard at being a good parent. Godly fathers are a real blessing to their children. This Fathers Day let’s appreciate fathers. Let them know they are loved and appreciated.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13
This post originally appeared on Taber’s Truths, Modern Christian Living.