I was sitting at a stoplight recently and noticed a father walking his two kids to school on the sidewalk. He was dressed in Carhartt clothes and steel-toe boots, but he also had his preschool daughter’s pink backpack thrown over his shoulder. She was holding her dad’s hand, while her big brother bounced around behind them both. This scene both haunted and inspired me: A dad, his kids, walking to school. Here’s why I was haunted because fatherhood seems to be dying.
I’m not talking about dudes making babies. That is alive and well in our world. I’m talking about adult men raising kids into responsible adults. That seems to be nearly extinct. I don’t want to get preachy or political, but I do want to get real for a second. Fatherlessness is not just bad for kids; it’s bad for the world.
But, before I get into this, thanks to all that fathers and father-figures who stand and stay to lead, protect and provide for the kids. On behalf of the world, I thank you.
Here’s why: 3 Reasons the World Needs Fathers
1. Fathers keep children out of prison: So, we’re starting with the low-hanging fruit on this one: 80% of incarcerated men grew up in father-absent homes. Here’s the deal: Fathers and father figures teach kids self-control, moral boundaries and good judgment. Take those things out of a kids development years and you often get undisciplined, un-teachable and irresponsible men who often wind up doing time.
2. Fathers make children feel safer: Nothing against mama bear, here, but most men are physically stronger and psychologically more aggressive than most women. Yes, there are exceptions (like Ronda Rousey and Xena Warrior Princess), but for the most part, this is true. And yes, mama bear you can protect and provide, too, and sometimes you’re doing it solo; but when a man acts like a father, the children feel an exponential sense of safety and stability. It’s simple: Low trauma + low drama = peaceful kids and peaceful mama.
3. Fathers reduce poverty: According Census Bureau, children in father-absent homes experience poverty at more than four times the rate of children in married-parent homes. So, when daddy stays at home and stands at home, prosperity goes up.
Why? Well, it’s not just daddy’s paycheck; it’s also daddy’s partnership with mom and visa versa. Think about it. It’s simple physics: 1 person does the work of 1, but 2 people do the work of 5. So, instead of single mom parenting and providing alone, a father brings an exponential factor to developing, disciplining and directing their kids. Oh, one more thing: Fathered children most often father their children. But the opposite is also true. Fatherless kids make fatherless kids. Yep, it’s a cycle.
Four Actions for Fatherhood:
Start Simple- The day you find out your father, don’t overthink your responsibilities. It’s simple: Lead, protect and provide. Don’t under-think it either. Those three roles, even poorly executed, will help keep kids out prison, feel more secure and reduce their risk of poverty.
Stay- The best fathers are first committed husbands. So, persevere through the different seasons–good, bad, ugly and beautiful. Remember, if you leave their mother, you’re essentially leaving them.
Stand- Lead. God designed you to be a catalyst for change and creativity in your home. So stand humbly and courageously to lead your kids.
Start Over- Your marriage and your kids are going to go through different phases, so you’ll need to keep to start over and grow. Each new phase will require you to combine the wisdom from the last phase, but the open-mindedness to learn new things for the next phase.
If you’re reading this it’s probably because you want to be a better father or father figure. Here are some resources to go further.