The Weightiness Of Fatherhood And Why We Shouldn’t Forget The Fatherless
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative and the U.S. Census Bureau, out of 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes. Many of the social issues facing America today can be traced back to children growing up without a father. Just look at these astonishing statistics:
- Fatherless children are 100–200% more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems.
- A child who comes from a fatherless home is 68% more likely to use drugs or alcohol, more likely to become sexually active at an early age, and three times more likely to commit a violent crime.
- 63% of teenagers who attempt suicide live in fatherless homes.
- 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
- Fatherless sons are 300% more likely to become incarcerated in state juvenile institutions.
- Fatherless daughters who marry have a 92% higher divorce rate, and fatherless sons are 35% more likely to experience marital failure.
- Fatherless daughters are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, are 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, and are 164% more likely to have an out-of-wedlock birth.
- 80% of teenagers admitted to psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes.
- Girls without fathers in their lives are 2 & 1/2 times more likely to get pregnant and 53% more likely to commit suicide.
We serve a God who is not bound to statistics however these numbers are staggering. Praise God for all the faithful men who are raising their children under the banner of the Gospel for God’s glory. A godly father has a tremendous influence on his children. Each father has a biblical mandate to train his children to know, obey, and love God. Tedd Tripp says,
“God calls his creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children. You exercise authority as God’s agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children on God’s behalf for their good.
Our culture tends toward the extreme poles on a continuum. In the area of authority, we tend either toward a crass kind of John Wayne authoritarianism or toward being a wimp. God calls you by His Word and his example to be authorities who are truly kind. God calls you to exercise authority, not in making your children do what you want, but in being true servants – authorities who lay down your lives. The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority of God.
Jesus is an example of this. The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant. He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules. He exercises sovereign authority that is kind – authority exercised on behalf of his subjects. In John 13, Jesus, who knew that the Father had put all things under his authority, put on a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. As his people submit to his authority, they are empowered to live freely in the freedom of the gospel.
As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves them.”
Fathers who lead with the authority described by Tedd Tripp are raising God fearing children who will learn to honor Christ. A Godly man will seek to build a strong foundation for his children’s lives and faith. His investment of time, instruction, love, and discipline shapes the next generation and equips his children to share the gospel with future generations to come. Our children are not our own they are the Lords. We are to raise them according to His purposes and by His appointed means. God loves our children far more than we do and He is a far wiser parent. Voddie Baucham wisely states,
“The key is to understand that our children don’t belong to us—they belong to God. Our goal as parents must not be limited by our own vision. I am a finite, sinful, selfish man. Why would I want to plan out my children’s future when I can entrust them to the infinite, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign Lord of the universe? I don’t want to tell God what to do with my children—I want Him to tell me!”
Let us not forget the fatherless children in our churches. Churches are filled with single-family mothers who need the churches support. Maybe you’re an older man with adult children who have left the home. If so consider being a spiritual father to a young man or women in your church who has never had a Godly male figure in their lives. The local church is a family filled with spiritual dads, uncles, and brothers. Right now picture one child in your church that you know does not have their father actively involved in their life. Now ask yourself, “How could I be a godly male figure in this child’s life?” Invite them over for dinner and let them join your family in family worship, call them every now and then just to check up on them, take them to lunch or dinner, show up to support them at a sporting event. These may seem small to you, but they just might be one of the most loving gestures that child may have ever experienced from a man.