On Sunday, our nation will celebrate Father’s Day. The observable differences in the way Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are celebrated could be attributed to several different factors. Mother’s Day is typically a more sentimental occasion than Father’s Day because our moms are usually a little more sentimental. Moms are typically more nurturing and so we think of them differently than we think of our dads. It is too often the case that moms have to play the role of mother and father to the children.
Consider a hypothetical situation for a moment. If you invited a guest into your house and this guest proceeded to tell your children how useless and narrow minded you were behind your back, and insulted your values to your face, you would find a way to rid your family of the “guest.” Every single day the television is on in your home you have an invited guest insulting your values and portraying you as a childish buffoon.
Personally, as a father, I find this completely insulting and demeaning. My father was not a childish buffoon, I am not a childish buffoon, and neither are you. If you take your role as a father seriously, we cannot allow this to go on unchecked. Short of cutting the cable or satellite, watch what your kids are watching and find out if they are watching programs where the kids live separately from parents and attend schools where the teachers are out of touch, incompetent boobs.
Beyond that, let me point you to Scripture, Colossians 3:21. In this context Paul instructs men not to be bitter toward their wives, which could be another article for another time. In speaking to fathers the apostle simply states, “Fathers, do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.” This is not an injunction against discipline. There are plenty of ways that we can encourage our sons and daughters.
The best encouragement your children can receive is for you to be present in your children’s lives. Mom and dad both need to be on the same page about how to properly discipline the children. Once both parents agree on how they are going to discipline, be there. Living where we do, we get a chance to hear the news from Chattanooga and Atlanta. One does not need to read the latest social research in esoteric, academic periodicals to understand that children are rebelling and killing each other because they lack the presence of male role models. Simply stated, there is a dearth of fathering going on all over the world and not just in inner cities.
The breakdown of the family can be blamed on many factors but don’t let politics and political correctness cloud your instincts. Young people need stable homes and strong, stable, male role models for their development, in addition to a mother’s love and devotion.
Little girls need a doting father to remind them of how smart, talented and beautiful they are. Little boys need a father to reassure them that they have what it takes to grow up to be a man. Young men and young women need a father to instruct and guide them in making big decisions about their future. Young men and women need a stable ear to listen to their triumphs and their troubles and provide them with a voice of encouragement each step of the way.
Step up and be the man God intended for you to be in your family, in your church and in your community. This world needs good fathers as well as good mothers.
Bryan Collins is minister of the Central Church of Christ in Dalton. His column runs the second Saturday of the month.