Fatherhood: Only Real Men Need Apply

 

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“He will turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking.” Luke 1:17b

Fatherhood is not for wimps.  It is a tough job, with a huge upside, but littered with pitfalls. One piece of advice that I would give to young fathers don’t work so hard that you forget to be there for your children.  We as bread-winners get sucked into the rat race mindset. The trap is so subtle.  It draws you in rather quickly. It convinces you that providing for your family is all that matters.  Beware of what I call the Cats in the Cradle Syndrome.

The Cat’s in the Cradle Syndrome

 The “Cats in the Cradle” is the title of a famous song sung by Harry Chapin but written by Harry Chapin’s wife, Sandy, as a poem long before their son was born. Once Josh was born,  it was turned into this song. It is a haunting song with a powerful message to fathers. The most important lyric in the song is:

“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day

I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me”

 Here is an illustration of that disease.

Doctor Potter tells the story of a young man who stood at the bar of a court of justice to be sentenced for forgery. The judge had known him from a child, for his father had been a famous legal light and his work on the Law of Trusts was the most exhaustive work on the subject in existence. “Do you remember your father?” asked the judge sternly, “that father whom you have disgraced?”

The prisoner answered: “I remember him perfectly. When I went to him for advice or companionship, he would look up from his book on the Law of Trusts, and say, ‘Run away boy, I am busy.’ My father finished his book, and here I am.” The great lawyer had neglected his own trust, with awful results.—T. De Witt Talmadge[1]

“If left to themselves, children will be rebels, so it is necessary for the parents to train their children.” Unknown

If you are an older father and your kids are grown, you may feel like a bad father.  Guess what? You are not alone. The Bible records a long list of parents who struggled to make healthy choices in raising their children.   Some made bad decisions either by being bad examples to their children or by failing to discipline them properly. Here are just a few compiled by Warren Wiersbe:

  • David pampered Absalom and set him a bad example, and the results were tragic.
  • Eli failed to discipline his sons, and they brought disgrace to his name and defeat to the nation of Israel.
  • Isaac pampered Esau, while his wife showed favoritism to Jacob; and the result was a divided home.
  • Jacob was showing favoritism to Joseph when God providentially rescued the lad and made a man out of him in Egypt.

You can’t go back in time and undo all the missed birthdays, baseball games, music recitals, but you can be there for them now.  For younger fathers learn from our mistakes.  Don’t put your career ahead of your children.  Don’t justify the long hours in place of something that is best for them.  Your presence is best for them.  Your place in the life of a child goes back centuries.

 Father’s You Plan a Critical Role.

 In Paul’s day, the father had supreme authority over the family. When a baby was born into a Roman family, for example, it was brought out and laid before the father.

If he picked it up, it meant he was accepting it into the home. But if he did not pick it up, it said the child was rejected. It could be sold, given away, or even killed by exposure. No doubt a father’s love would overcome such monstrous acts, but these practices were legal in that day. Men don’t take your role lightly. Don’t underestimate just how important you are in the life of your children.

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 431). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

 

Other posts in this series:
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/25/the-homefront-is-crumbling/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/11/is-the-apostle-paul-a-male-chauvinist/

 

 

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81 thoughts on “Fatherhood: Only Real Men Need Apply

  1. We have too many “sperm donors” and not enough fathers in our world. It’s across all drawn lines of human distinctions. And even among fathers who are present, meaning at home, many are not godly fathers. Thanks for your much needed words!

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  2. Thank you for writing this, especially as many fathers can shift the work on to the mum. For me it was the other way round and my dad for a short time was the caregiver when my mum left.. He then met a woman who abused me and then I had to go into care but he was a good dad before.

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  3. I think that no one should bring a child into this world unless they are prepared to be a father or mother. And if by accident you are becoming a parent then the person should step up and be there for their child. Thank you for your post.

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  4. My now ex-husband fell into that exact trap with work. He regrets not being there as much for the kids because there’s a real distance and disconnect because of it now that they’re adults.

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  5. I think that every father should read this post as they have to play an integral role in the development of a child. Both the partners should share the equal responsibilities in raising their kids!

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  6. I didn’t really have a father so I don’t really know how the fatherly love and care feels like. But I do hope that fathers who read this will understand how important it is to be there, by their children, and don’t just walk away.

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  7. Thank you for this very insightful article. The example you gave out from the Bible are very helpful. Although I never got to meet my real dad (he pased away when i was a baby), I grew up with a stepdad who I can call my own. Thankfully, I didn’t have an issue with not having time spent with parents but this article will greatly help all dads, those in this situation, as well as future dads.

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  8. This is such an enlightening post. Indeed, fathers have significant roles in the family and society even up to this day. I`m blessed to have a Father in Heaven who did so many amazing and gracious things in my life.

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    1. Thank you Graceful. I completely agree and am amazingly thankful that I have a heavenly Father who has been there at every celebration in my life. At every moment I needed comfort. There when I felt alone and scared. And he will be there at my last hour to take me into his arms for eternity.

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