In a time when many men shun the responsibilities of fatherhood, the question is, how necessary is the father in today’s family? One researcher was very surprised to find out. Fathers, front and center!
A university professor set out to write a book showing that single-parent families, meaning those headed
by the mother only, do just as well as two- parent families in rearing children.
She was surprised to find that girls living without fathers at home were twice as likely to drop out of school, were doubly prone to emotional problems, and twice as likely to become pregnant as those families with fathers in the home.
Boys with absentee fathers had a two times greater chance of getting into trouble, especially with the law. In fact, statistics reveal that seven out of ten men in prison today grew up without the regular guidance of their fathers.
‘Father Forgive Them’
Beginning in the 1970s when the feminist movement gained popularity, the male in the family and society was increasingly attacked, belittled, and deprecated. Situation comedies would portray the typical father as
a passive, dimwitted dolt who was always being manipulated and outsmarted by his far more clever wife and children. And if he showed some assertiveness, he came across as Archie Bunker-like in his bias and bigotry.
Traditionally the father has been the one to bear the burden of providing stability and corrective training to his children. Yet in recent years fatherhood has been undermined, along with other institutions that for centuries have given moral steadiness to our culture.
In the last 50 years certain forces have tried every conceivable way to dispense with principled and ethical guidelines and Bible-based absolutes. The rallying cry of the 1960s was, “question authority.”
Today we are reaping the results of this relentless attack on traditional beliefs, and particularly on fatherhood as the primary authority in the family.
Increasing numbers of citizens carry weapons for protection because they fear being assaulted by young males who grew up without responsible fathers. We can’t build prisons fast or large enough. Child crime is a growing problem for law enforcement today, along with illegal drugs.
Life is becoming less valued today, and the natural fear of taking another life is waning. How much worse can it get
when seven-year-olds are murdering their playmates? Yahshua prophesied in Matthew 24:12 that because iniquity (sin) would abound the love of many would grow cold.
Roots of the Problem
We human beings cannot exist without firm standards of righteousness to guide us. Absolutes are critical, as given by Yahweh in His laws. That in a nutshell is the antidote to the sins and ills of society.
Back at creation in Genesis 2:16-17, Yahweh gave to Adam mankind’s first moral instructions. “And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”
In a subsequent conversation with Eve, notice how the Adversary responded: “And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For Elohim knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as mighty ones, knowing good and evil.” In other words Eve, you must question His authority! Who is He to tell you about right and wrong? It’s a ploy to keep you from becoming wise and powerful like Himself.
The Evil One knew the principle clearly:
take away authority and respect for it and you initiate the destruction of the human race. Yahweh knew it too, and had to deal with their sin quickly and forcefully by shutting them out of the garden and rendering swift punishment.
A deliberate defying of Yahweh and His established limits of behavior was what caused the first man and woman such misery. And it’s the same curse that is destroying us today. Biblical law is ignored by the masses. Morality has suffered as the milk of human kindness has been spoiled. The destructive results are all around us.
As the Bible and laws of morality lose their impact on a culture, the evils and the tribulations of mankind increase proportionately. It is a truth demonstrated repeatedly in declining civilizations throughout history.
But the greater problems of our society are just an extension of serious distresses that have developed in deteriorating families. After all, nations are but a collection of individual families. As families go, so goes the country.
Seat of Authority
From the time of Eve’s sin, Yahweh spelled out how headship would function in the family relationship. Notice:
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you,” Genesis 3:16.
Paul confirmed this sacred order in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is Elohim,” 1Corinthians 11:3.
The significance of the father in the family reaches beyond the fleshly into the spiritual realm. Before the advent of the Levitical priesthood, the father represented the family in worship. He acted as its priest (see Gen. 12:8 and Job 1:5).
Being head of the household, the father had full control over his unmarried children. His word was law. He was the judge. He arranged for their marriages. He could even sell his daughters into slavery if he was in dire financial straits.
Yahweh intended that the last word in the family rests with the husband and father.
Makings of a Good Dad
For whatever the reason, many children today are struggling without fathers and the guidance that a righteous father brings to a family. Good fathers are instrumental in instilling in their children clear limits, discipline, and respect for authority in their lives. These are basic to a successful life. Paul writes, “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh,” Ephesians 6:4.
A lack of a moral foundation typically leads a youth into run-ins with the law and other serious behavior problems such as are plaguing us today.
From the beginning of their lives, children need to know their boundaries – and they will constantly test a parent to see just where those limits are.
Parenting is not a part-time job. With only one parent active in the family, the task is doubly difficult.
It is crucial for parents to be well-versed in biblical principles and to practice the principles themselves. In so doing they will not only train their children for success in this world, but more importantly will also prepare them to be worthy of the coming Kingdom.
Children learn best by observing. The hand is a much more effective teacher than the mouth. How often have you heard a misbehaving youngster justify himself with, “But my dad does it!” Never mind that dad has TOLD him differently.
A principle every father and mother must grasp, therefore, is that to teach a child properly they must first set a good example in their own lives. Parents can give their children the best lectures in the world but without practicing what they preach, they are
just working against the teaching. A child may know what is right, but he’ll likely DO just what he sees his parents do. As one saying goes, “The believer must teach the scriptures every day, and sometimes even use words.”
Good, Constant Rapport
The evils of this world present some of the most difficult challenges ever faced in the successful upbringing of young people. With the entertainment industry obsessed with glorifying all the sinful and vile sides of life, it’s no wonder that society suffers so many evils.
The internet is today’s teacher and the secular world is the classroom where wayward youths learn to lie, steal, cheat, and solve their problems by pulling a trigger.
For True Believers, the knee-jerk reaction is to remove ourselves from the sources of corruption. But that is only a stop-gap solution. The only way to be totally free of permanent, harmful influences is to live on another planet. Barring that, what can a father do to help ensure that his children mature in the ways and love of Yahweh?
The Biblical Solution
Yahweh gave Israel the formula for successful child-rearing:
“And these words [His laws], which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7).
The most effective approach to neutralizing the harmful influences of society on a son or daughter is to be proactive. Anticipate what reactions might be. Counter damaging behavior before it can take hold. Explain good and bad, right and wrong before, not after the deed is done. This is accomplished best in Bible studies and discussions.
As Yahweh directs, a father must take a personal, loving interest in what is happening in the lives of his children. Be genuine. Children can readily sense the difference between sincerity and phoniness.
Talk with your children constantly. Learn what their issues are and give proper solutions. Especially at the dinner table. Explain why certain behavior is wrong.
Rearing a child is a day-in, day-out effort.
It takes unrelenting work and sacrifice. It is not a job for the weak, or the teenage mother who hasn’t grown up herself. Neither is it a once-in-a-while stint whenever the mood hits or a few moments allow. Sacrifice some of your own wants for the sake of your children. Look how Yahshua sacrificed for us.
Absentee parenting will never do the job.
Be Positive and Nurturing
Many fathers think discipline entails just a lot of don’ts. Don’t do this. Don’t say that. Don’t go there. Stop that. Don’t give me that attitude.
Positive training, however, provides the opportunity for real spiritual growth. Paul wrote in 1Thessalonians 2:11, “As you know how we exhorted and comforted and a husband and wife, the wife scripturally will defer to her husband.
Our Father in Heaven
Many children for various reasons are being raised in mother-only families. In the absence of a father, the Bible serves well. A loving and morally authoritative Father in heaven can be an effective substitute for an absentee father. In fact, nothing is better than to look to Yahweh as the Heavenly Father over all humanity, and who guides our lives each day as we walk with Him.
Mothers and fathers who use the Bible as the instruction book for life will find that their prospects for successful child rearing will be greatly enhanced. Furthermore, they have the unique opportunity to implant a love of Yahweh that won’t be forgotten. They can give no greater gift.
Consider. We have our children for only about 18 years and then they are gone. That gives us a relatively short time to inspire in them a love for Yahweh. Once past, that opportunity may never come again. How many parents in the faith have wished that they had instilled a love for Yahweh in their children before it became too late! Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
A father and mother with a love for Yahweh will do everything possible to pass on their faith to their offspring. The sooner they get started, the more effective and long-lasting will be the results.