The Importance Of Having An “Active” Father In Children’s Lives!


I read an article a number of years ago about a famous professional football player.  The article focused on not only his professional accomplishments, but his personal life. He was raised by a single mom whom he clearly loves and reveres. His father was, according to him, “nonexistent for most of my life.” He has had to foster forgiveness. Of his initial encounter with his father he explained, “The first thing you wanted to do was choke the…out of him and say, “You could have called. Could have offered any type of advice about how to go through this world? Now you want to give advice? No, now your dealing with a full-fledged man. I’m no longer the child who wished he would just show up to one of my games”. (“All consuming passion”, USA Today, by Jarrett Bell).

The above family situation is playing out all over the country. His background is par for many of our professional athletes. Yet, I noted in the article that he was described as “an unmarried father of six”. Well…unmarried and being a father is also becoming “common”. Of course “common” doesn’t mean good. It just means….”common”. That description “an unmarried father of six” got me thinking. Six children, wow? So I looked him up on the internet. It seems that, from the information that I found, that at least four different women are mothers to his children. From what I read, he is trying to be there for his children, yet he doesn’t live with any of their mothers. I don’t suppose he tucks them to sleep at night.

I don’t relate this man’s story to condemn him, just to point out an obvious fact. Here he hated being left by his father, yet the pattern had been set and it wasn’t a good one. A pattern he seems to be following. It is a pattern of least resistance and accountability. It is the pattern of selfishness. It is a simple and easy pattern. It is also the pattern of heartache and pain; of loneliness and destruction. It is the pattern of failure! It is the pattern that is set too often by todays parents for their children. Over the course of time I have discovered a few things about families that have broken apart. Often when the children are young, they love to be with the parent who allows them the most freedom. The one who requires nothing of them. The one who will allow them to self-indulge. Because, well, they don’t know any better. But when they grow up and become adults, oft-times they will recognize the “other” parent. The one who tried to teach and enforce rules. The one who tried to teach them integrity by instilling values. In short, the one who really cared! Unfortunately, by the time they discover that, many have already developed some bad habits that are hard to get rid of.

When Moses went up on Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments the Lord spoke to him many things. Among them was that he would visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7). What he was saying was that He was holding the fathers accountable for teaching their children correct principles. If they don’t the ramification can often be felt for generations. The Lord mentioned even to the fourth! That goes to show you the Lord’s opinion regarding the longevity or influence of a bad example. The same could be said about the tremendous power of a righteous example.

The role of father or mother is the most important role given to us in this life. Sometimes things don’t always work out the way we would like. Sometimes marriages fall apart, for various reasons. But when a marriage falls apart it doesn’t mean our parenthood should fall apart. It might make it more challenging, but the Lord will be by our side if we desire to do what is right.  May the Lord bless us all with the strength and fortitude to be steady in our parenting.

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