Being an educator, we were privileged (and I mean that sincerely) to participate in routine professional development. One such session was from a psychologist who talked about the development of children and the growing phenomenon at that time of single-parent households. What causes them and what impact does it have on the child? It depends on what happened to the family to render it a one-parent household, she said. Divorce can be one cause. Loss of a parent can be a cause (death). Yet those kinds of losses, according to her, can be something a child can recover from. The number one problem for children is abandonment. Mom or dad just left, leaving no forwarding number or address. Devastating impact, she said.
So, I was talking to a friend who is a step-dad last week and telling him I admired him for the role he has taken by stepping up to the plate and becoming Dad to these kids. I am impressed, I noted, that they have now begun to call you dad. I mentioned the psychologist's remarks, and asked him, whatever happened to biological dad? We try to include him, but he doesn't get involved, he said. He then said, "You know, his dad abandoned him when he was a kid." I looked and just said, "Proves the point then." He nodded.
We acknowledge our moms and celebrate Mother's Day. Mothers are significant in our lives. We read in Psalm 139 that we are knit together in our mother's womb, where God breathes life into us. They guide us and are our first teachers. Yet never keep our eyes off the tremendous role and responsibility we serve as fathers. God's Word makes our role clear. Spiritual lead of the household. Primary instructor of children's faith. Provider. And just how, men, are we doing?
I can think of the many times I rationalized my importance in other things to justify neglecting my main role given by God, husband and father. The writer of Hebrews notes, "For what son is there whom his father does not discipline (teach, instruct, shape, guide, reward and punish)? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live. For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good...." (Hebrews 12:7 - 10)
We pray God shape us, discipline us, to the be the men of God he expects us to be. That we be the husband and father which he has spelled out for us in his Word. We thank God for this role and ask God to equip us to lead and guide our families as fathers.
Hope Men's Ministry