Thursday, 29 July 2010

Parenting #3 For Dads

This is a moment of reflection for Dads. God calls me to be a Dad. This will not apply to every family set up, but to those in my position...

The call

God holds men accountable for their households. (Genesis 3v9 1 Timothy 3v4-5 Ephesians 6v4.) God addresses the man first as leader on moral decisions, the overall running of the home and for parenting.

The Bible addresses parenting commands to Dad, not mum.

This is not to deny or minimize the crucial, society transforming role of mothers. Instead, this is a call for men to take God given responsibility and also heart posture towards mum. Often she carries out much of the task day to day but he has overall responsibility. (Titus 2v4-5) This shapes my prayer, my listening, my sharing of burdens, my priorities, my time away and my appreciation of my wife.

My repentance

After reading this chapter from Farley I confessed and apologised to my wife for making her feel like Rufus was her responsibility and that I am gracious to help her out. Nothing could be further from the truth. She is my team mate who is helping build my home which I am responsible for. I am to help, support, release her in her talents and receive her as a precious gift from God.

Influence of Dad 

Farley writes, "God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he gives them inordinate influence over their children."

He refers to a study published in Touchstone in 2003 and concludes, "The father's spiritual example was the primary tool that shaped his children's desire to embrace religion. The mother's spiritual commitments were less decisive."

If only mum goes to Church, no matter how faithfully only 2% of children ended up going.

If Dad goes to Church, regardless of mum, over 33% of children ended up going to Church.

Touchstone wrote, "The results are shocking, but they should not be surprising. They are politically incorrect as it is possible to be; but they simply confirm what psychologists, criminologists, educationalists, and traditional Christians know. You cannot buck the biology of the created order. Father's influence, from the determination of a child's sex by the implantation of his seed to the funerary rites surrounding his passing is all out of proportion to his allotted, and severely diminished role, in Western liberal society."

Influence of Dad (2)

Fatherhood initiative wrote: "Teens from fatherless homes are: 5 times more likely to run away, 20times more likely to have behavioural disorders, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison." 

They also note that interestingly these results do not hold when the Father dies. It seems children understand that this is outside of his control and can compensate emotionally Farley observes.

Three thoughts:

1) My role and the weight of the responsibility which God calls me to. In the end this is my first responsibility. I am on my knees for myself and I need to be more so!

2) My brothers. I hope me and my brothers will help each other on this journey and that God leads us to be the best Dads we can be.

3) The distance we are right now in culture and the raw, passionate opposition which this kind of data and reflection may induce in our culture. My heart breaks for the gulf between the gracious blueprint we have and the values promoted in this day. Really I am deeply saddened by this.

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