Our oldest son, Caleb, just graduated from high school. As I’m sure many of you have done when your child achieved this major milestone, I spent several hours collecting pictures from his life and putting them together in a special slideshow for his graduation party.
Going back through the last 18 years of Caleb’s life was a wonderful time of reflection. I found the very first picture we took of him in the hospital. (We were still using cameras with actual film back then.) Then I found pictures of his first steps, first bike ride without training wheels, first day of school – I was amazed at how many firsts I had forgotten.
The physical, emotional, and spiritual transitions our kids make in such a short amount of time are incredible. Just a few years ago, Caleb was a cute little boy playing with cars and trucks. The young man before me now is taller than me (not a particularly hard thing to accomplish), handsome, and preparing to spend the balance of the year as a missionary on the other side of the world. Time indeed flies by.
When Jessica and I first married, I had an admittedly romantic notion of what fatherhood was. I was going to spend every waking moment with my kids and do nothing but play baseball and go for ice cream. We would do everything together: hobbies, church activities, family game night, movies, vacations, even chores.
As any parent knows, parenthood doesn’t end up being particularly romantic most of the time. There ARE wonderful memories and experiences we share with our kids. However, there are days and weeks of the mundane – of just living life – that stretch between those romanticized moments. And when boys become teenagers, they do what God intended them to do. They begin to think, act, and reason on their own. I’ve discovered that although Caleb shares some physical and personality traits with Jessica and me, he is his own person. He is not a clone or mirror image of either one of us. He is created in God’s image. There has never been anyone exactly like him in the past, nor will there be in the future. He is utterly and completely unique.
As a father, the process of watching your son grow into a man is both beautiful and frustrating. Our kids do some wonderful, amazing things; and then seemingly in the very next moment, they say something boneheaded that reminds us of their humanity. When we are the father of young children, we perpetually correct them and rescue them from poor decisions. But as a father of young men, we find ourselves correcting and rescuing less often. In order for our sons to complete their journey to manhood, we must allow them to make mistakes and fail. If we don’t, they won’t complete their journey. And, as you fathers know, watching our sons fail is one of the hardest things we have to do.
Much ink has been spilled bemoaning the state of fatherhood in America. In our narcissistic, sex-obsessed culture, too many men have abandoned their role as protector, provider, and priest in their homes. Too many have traded the tough, mundane work of fatherhood for short-term pleasure and selfishness. As a gender, men have led very, very poorly. The #MeToo movement is a stinging indictment on our gender and proof that too many of us have failed.
While the criticism of men in general is warranted, we must also stop a moment and praise those men who’ve stood the test of time and been fabulous fathers to their daughters and sons. Though somewhat ignored in our current culture, these men quietly, consistently love and care for their children through good times and bad. We celebrate those men on Father’s Day.
And we pray for those who’ve been poor fathers – that they might repent of their idolatry and step back into their role as sacrificial, loving leaders in their homes.
Some 85% of abortions are performed on single mothers. Many of the women we see at Human Coalition are pregnant, single moms. And although we just celebrated moms in May, I would be remiss if I didn’t again say thank you to those moms who chose life for their children – even when the baby’s father is absent. Single moms are compelled to be both moms and dads to their children – an extraordinarily difficult and somewhat thankless job.
Ultimately, men, we must look to our heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance on how to be fantastic dads. When we make mistakes, we apologize and repent. We train, correct, discipline, encourage, promote, and praise. We model biblical manhood for our sons and daughters. But perhaps the best thing we can do as fathers is to cultivate loving, growing marriages.
I am eternally grateful to be a dad to my two sons. My dad was, and is, supportive, eager to listen, and always present. I hope my two sons say the same the things about me.
The importance of godly fathers in America cannot be overstated. On this Father’s Day, let’s pray that God would strengthen good fathers and raise up the next generation of dads to be bold, compassionate, gracious, and loving. May abortion and the exploitation of females perish at the hands of men who refuse to demean and destroy women and children.
A father is as important as a mother!!! Praise God for you folks! God has truly anointed you!!!
Share with the men and women you see at Human Coalition that they are fathers and mothers from the moment their son or daughter was conceived. None of this father or mother-to-be stuff. They might be overwhelmed with the thought, but they must start thinking of themselves as parents to… Read more »
You’re a true testament to all fathers, whether with their family or not. If they will just read your words, perhaps their minds can be enlightened, strengthened, and changed to be better.
You’re a blessing, and GOD will Bless you abundantly!
Well said I hope all men and women listen
The sky high rate of negro crime for male youths is largely caused by the abandonment of families by their fathers and an immoral, irresponsible lifestyle on the part of males who ignore, deny, and abdicate their responsibilities as fathers. Often these youths, in the absence of an example and… Read more »
May abortion and the exploitation of females perish at the hands of men who refuse to demean and destroy women and children.
Lord, let it be!
The absence of fathers in the lives of their children is at the core of many of our social issues. Thank you for anything you do to promote marriage and involved fathers!
Awesome. I shared on Facebook with family!
May your message inspire many.
awesome testimony and conviction
Thank you Brian, another good article..
Thank you for so beautifully expressing the importance and sanctity of fatherhood.
Jesus is the Cure. Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time, ” Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Thank you. The world is in desperate need of real fathers and real mothers. I live in a community where faithful spouses, large families, and waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy are still the rule rather than the exception. Men and boys are men and boys, and women and girls… Read more »
“…,the criticism of men in general is warranted”. That’s just plain bull. The MeToo doesn’t prove a thing, many of these women sold their bodies and their reputations to gain status, popularity and fame. A lot of these women making these allegations are Far Left Feminists that hate men and… Read more »
Thank you for this article. I was blessed to have a father who exemplified everything you’ve outlined here as being the description of a good father. Then when I was just eighteen, God arranged for me to meet the man He had chosen for me, and we enjoyed 38 years… Read more »