Where is Dad? Fathers Should Participate In Their Children’s Lives

With Father’s Day coming up, there is no better time to talk about the important role of fathers in raising godly children. This will be the first in a series of articles posted in the next three weeks discussing what God expects of fathers.

Here is a terrible stat, “Two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.”

https://lifewayresearch.com/2019/01/15/most-teenagers-drop-out-of-church-as-young-adults/

Many youth leave church (and God) as soon as they get out of the home. There is a fundamental problem in how they are being raised, and the buck stops with Dad.

So as we start this series, the topic for today is that fathers must participate in the affairs of the home. Many fathers may be physically present, but mentally absent.

Sadly, there are many examples of poor fathers in the Bible and very few examples of good ones.

David’s home life was a disaster. Of his sons (Amnon) raped his half-sister. David was furious, but did nothing about it (2 Samuel 13:21). The created resentment in Absalom, who later rebelled against his father, starting a deadly civil war. Even the succession to the throne was not smooth as Adonijah tried to usurp it from Solomon.

And David never seems to correct his children at all.

1 Kings 1:6 – His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?

Eli is another bad example. His sons were terrible priests. They stole from people who came to make sacrifices and committed adultery with the women serving in the temple. Eli seems saddened by this, but he did little to stop it. (1 Samuel 2.)

Isaac appears to be an absentee father, turning over much of the management of the house to Rebekah. It leads to deceit and hatred with Esau intending to murder Jacob, but still Isaac does little.

All of these fathers had a big problem. They did not participate in the affairs of their households as they should have.

Did these problems start when their children were grown? Nope. Children will generally stay on the path they were set on when they were growing up.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

They did not actively participate in training up their children as they should have. Isaac allowed Rebekah to handle things. David likely delegated this to tutors or nannies.

In many families, fathers pass the responsibilities for the kids off to others. They pass them off to the mom, to school teachers, to Sunday School teachers, and to youth pastors. It is not the job of the Sunday School teacher to teach your kid the Bible. They can help, but fathers, it is your job. You must take an active roll in every aspect of your children’s lives, from school and homework, to their character and spiritual growth.

As the following graph shows, having almost any type of father in the home is better than not having one at all.

This graph is from: https://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood-data-statistics

Absent fathers graphic

At the same time, being at home does not mean that fathers are involved or participate. Let’s face it. We are probably all guilty of ignoring our children and families at times.

Where is Dad? He is on his phone.

Where is Dad? He is on the computer.

Where is Dad? He is watching TV.

We need to be physically and mentally engaged with our kids.

Some fathers are very busy at work. They tell themselves that “I am doing this for my family.” But most don’t actually ask their families if they want them to be that busy. Dads, ask your children if they would prefer to have nicer stuff (meaning you work more OT), or if they would rather spending more time with you?

Gifts and promises do not make up for missed birthdays or missed events.

Here are a few ways that you can participate in your children’s lives:

  • When they are little, read them a Bible story each night.
  • Talk to them about how they are feeling or what they are struggling with.
  • Participate in their hobbies. You can do this by showing interest, asking questions, and doing them together.
  • Participate in your children’s school. Help them with homework and be patient to explain things they don’t understand.
  • Participate in your children’s discipline. Don’t just “send them to mom.”
  • Participate in the chores of the house. This will set a good example for your children to see what a loving father should be like.
  • Support what your wives are doing and the difficulties they are facing. Give a friendly ear, helpful suggestions, and physical presence.

Time flies by so fast. My wife and I just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. And our oldest son is nearly 11. It seems like just yesterday he was a toddler. But now he is around halfway or more to being out and on his own. The days flash by one by one and opportunities to be together sometimes slip by. I am sure that when my kids start to leave I will never regret and say, “I wish I spent more time working,” but I may regret not spending enough time with them.

Use the Facebook sharing bar on the right to share this. Moms, forward this to your husband! And Dads, time to get off the computer and go spend some time with your kids :)

Be sure to come back soon for the next article in the “Where is Dad?” series. It will focus on the fact that father’s should prepare their children for eternity.

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