According to this article, written by Rebecca Grace, all fathers share a strong innate desire to care for their children. Some, however because of the nature of today’s world, gravitate toward selfishness. Some, like many mothers, suffer from self-imposed guilt.
Regardless of where a father is in his involvement with his children, this article points out that there is always hope.
The National Center for Fathering CEO, Carey Casey, has a book titled “7 Secrets of Effective Fathers.” His conclusions are summed up as the following seven secrets:
1. “Commitment – Being committed to your family and understanding your responsibility for the health of the home;
2. “Knowing your child – Knowing such things as your children’s spiritual gifts, learning style, closest friend, greatest fear and vocational dreams;
3. “Consistency – Being the same person in church circles as you are at work or among friends;
4. “Protecting and providing – Protecting your children spiritually, emotionally, physically and providing them what they truly need;
5. “Loving their mother – Honoring, cherishing, respecting and listening to the mother of your children, even if there has been divorce; if you are married to their mother loving her . . . and placing her needs above your own;
6. “Active Listening – Truly listening to your children by turning off ‘the noise’ (stereos, iPods, TVs, the newspaper);
7. “Spiritual equipping – Modeling forgiveness and failure, . . .encouraging the family to attend church, and reading the Bible and praying.”
Here are some ideas from Durick Hayden quoted in the same article:
• “Remember that a child is the most valuable possession a parent has.
• “Value the opportunity your children take to talk to you more than what they’re talking about. To a child, the issue is not really why the sky is blue, rather the issue is being able to talk to Daddy.
• “Be a protector and provider. It’s not about how much money you make; rather it’s about how consistently you provide for your family.
• “Love your child’s mother for the child’s sake.
• “Don’t believe the lie that when things get tough, you leave.
• “Understand that you can learn to become a good father.
• “Know that girls need their fathers every bit as much as boys do.
• “Teach your daughter what kind of man to marry by being that type of man.
• “Forgive your own father for his failings.
• “Keep in mind that your father was also someone else’s son.
• “The most valuable things you have to give your child is yourself and your time” (Ibid.).
Fathers need to realize that according to the National Center for Fathering (NCF), a non-profit, scientific and educational organization, “Children from fatherless homes are more likely to suffer from poverty, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens” (Ibid.). (Note: I hasten to comment that there are many wonderful single-mother homes that rear good children.)
Fathers, like mothers, are not perfect, but working with these ideas could help each of us be better.