By: Gary L. Hutchens
To all fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day! Fatherhood is pivotal in rearing and equipping our children to be able to effectively take their places in the adult population. It is even more pivotal in their spiritual development, resulting in whether or not they will spend eternity in Heaven. Sadly, a huge segment of our nation’s children are handicapped toward these ends because of Vanishing Fatherhood!
Too many children are growing up without fathers, in broken homes. Either through divorce or abandonment the father is absent from a great many homes. His absence leaves his children without the role model of a loving father and husband to their mother. As a result young boys grow up not fully learning how to be a man, a husband or a father. Young girls grow up not knowing what to look for in a man who could become their husband and father to their children.
Another factor contributing to the reality of our nation’s Vanishing Fatherhood is the prevalence of men and women to conceive and attempt to raise children without getting married. One or the other, or both, do not want to fully commit themselves to a marriage relationship. That pretend home will usually break up somewhere down the road and usually resulting in the father leaving.
There is a third factor in the mix. Too many children have fathers who are terrible examples and therefore poor teachers of the fundamental principles of right and wrong, goodness and evil, responsibility and irresponsibility. They may be alcoholics, drug addicts, physically and verbally abusive to their wives, too lazy to hold a steady job or exhibit any of a number of other evil characteristics. They may reside in the home, but they are ungodly fathers and, through their example, they are raising ungodly children. Though physically present, they are absent as a role model and, therefore, a part of our nation’s Vanishing Fatherhood.
Fatherhood should be revered by fathers. The Psalmist paints a vivid picture: “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;…” (Ps. 127:4-5). God designed Marriage and fatherhood to be a blessing, to bring fulfilling joy to a father’s life. “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD.” (Ps. 128:3-4).
God also lays upon fathers the responsibility to raise their children to faithfully follow and serve God. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). Notice God’s assessment of Abraham: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Children need the righteous example and teaching of their fathers to prepare them for life here in this world and to guide them to an eternal home in Heaven. The God designed role of fathers is critically vital to their children. So, fathers, take your stations with your children. Do not let yourselves become part of our nation’s Vanishing
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Gary L. Hutchens