Growth Spurts: The Importance of Fathers
In honor of Father’s Day this month, I want to specifically address dads.
Dads, do you know how important you are?
Do you know that every time you interact with your children’s mother, you are teaching your children how to treat a woman? What are they observing? A listening ear or a deaf one? Compassion or impatience? Love and cherishing or indifference? Presence or absence? You have a very high impact on how your son will treat his future bride and how your daughter will expect to be treated by her future husband.
Do you know that you are the strongest influence in your son’s life as he is learning what it means to be a man? He is watching you and learning from you, even when you aren’t aware of it. What is he seeing?
Do you know that your involvement with your children has a powerful effect on their behavior, their education, their work ethic, their self-esteem, their mental health? Do you know that children whose fathers are uninvolved in their lives aremuch more likely to get involved in crime, experience drug or alcohol abuse, drop out of school, be sexually active as a teenager, run away from home, or even commit suicide? This may sound extreme, but the facts and statistics are there. Don’t believe me? Just Google “the fatherless generation” and spend some time reading.
My motive here is not to scare you or fill you withguilt. Instead, I hope to encourage and inspire you. Dads, you are invaluable in your children’s lives! You have an awesome opportunity–a privilege and responsibility–to help shape the next generation. Don’t stand on the sidelines or discount your level of influence in your children’s lives.
For the countless fathers who are heavily involved in their children’s lives, we thank you! We thank you for your commitment, your love, your sacrifice, your time, your energy–all for the good of your family. All of it will greatly influence the next generation and even the generations to follow. You are setting the example. You are either raising or lowering the bar.
And if you aren’t happy about how you’ve handled the role of fatherhood thus far, don’t lose heart. Instead, take action! Get involved in your children’s lives. Volunteer in their classrooms. Get to know their friends. Discover what they’re passionate about. Teach them how to do stuff. Listen to them. Spend time with them. Cheer them on and inspire them. The time, money, effort, and energy that you invest in them during these years of childhood and adolescence will bring great rewards both to them and to you in the future.
Dads, we are thankful for you, and we celebrate you this month and every month!
Carrie Bevell Partridge is thankful for the involvement of her father in her life. And she is thankful for the father her husband is to their five children.