This morning, my wife looked up from her pile of weekend newspapers saying: “I’m so tired of reading ‘Father’s Day’ articles. Not one of them tackled core fatherhood issues that threaten the downfall of our country.”
And I replied: “That’s because very few readers – particularly men – want to face their failures.” Unfortunately, America is paying a high price for downplaying the father’s critical role in raising up children with healthy self-perceptions.
As a young man, I wasn’t a ‘perfect’ father. I didn’t spend enough “Daddy time” with my daughter. (Remember, “Daddy” is a term of endearment or love-and-respect that’s given back from a child.) My temper flared more than it should have. I didn’t assume the spiritual leadership of my family that I now know is so important.
My focus was on being a bread-winner – a financial provider. One huge problem with that: Children aren’t looking for financial provision; they’re looking for love, guidance and a role model for what it means to be a man. Somehow, my daughter survived it to become a healthy strong parent in her own right – thanks to her mother’s patience and persistence.
Wishing for a do-over
As I told my son-in-law last night, “If, as a young father, I knew half of what I’ve learned from my mistakes, I’d have been a much better father.” And I encouraged him to read the ages-tested biblical wisdom of Proverbs 4.
I’ve learned that a father’s example – good or bad – never stops, even after his children grow up and lead their own lives. Many fathers wish they could do their parenting years over with the wisdom gained from admitting their mistakes. That’s why many fathers make far better grandfathers.
“Rich”, for instance, is a long-time close friend. He grew up knowing that his father wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. So you can guess his reaction when his aging father wanted to reconnect. Not a chance!
Because of that dysfunctional relationship, Rich’s repressed anger as a young father sometimes came out on his own children. Fortunately, he mellowed with maturity and the help of a loving wife. Today, he’s great at grandfathering.
‘Daddy redux’ is crucial for America
Study after study shows that children raised by a loving father-and-mother team aspire to higher levels of life satisfaction and personal achievement than those raised by single parents. But you may not learn about these studies because they’re “politically incorrect” these days.
As Michael Craven, president of the Center for Christ & Culture, succinctly puts it: “The lack of actively involved fathers has produced societal conditions necessary for government intervention.” That’s why we have entitlement programs and government employees up the kazoo, along with inner-city crime, white-collar crime and financial fraud schemes.
Until the Baby Boomer era, marriage and fatherhood were seen as being among the highest aspirations in a man’s life. We can clearly see what has happened in their absence in a society that down plays their importance -- skyrocketing numbers of children born out of wedlock, escalating welfare rolls, steadily rising disbelief in moral absolutes . . .. You get the picture.
Think it’s impossible to reclaim America's moral high ground – that all is lost? I strongly disagree.
I see many young families hunkering down in reclamation efforts – fighting back with wisdom that transcends human wisdom. And they’re raising children of hope – distinctly different than the common run.
Christian churches that are educational centers of biblical wisdom are growing far faster than their facilities. (Hint: They aren't the main-line Protestant or Catholic churches.) Never has there been a spiritual hunger greater than what we’re experiencing in today’s young people.
Reclaiming America starts with you and your family. It starts by seeking and listening to the many voices of hope that are growing in number and visibility by the day. If you seek them, you will find them!
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