Restoring a Culture of Fatherhood

Restoring a Culture of Fatherhood

2017 | Week of June 12 | #1207

I find it a bit ironic that we still have a national “Father’s Day” in a culture that is doing everything it can to deny the importance of fatherhood. We see it in the media, in entertainment, in our schools, our public policy and even in our judicial system. Dads have been given a bad rap and as a result, fewer men are choosing to marry the mother of their child or to be in any meaningful way involved with their children.

In 2016, nationally the percentage of children living in fatherless homes was 23%, compared to 8% in 1960.[1] In 2015, over 40 percent of all births occurred out-of-wedlock where the father has no legal, and often no social, obligation to raise his own child and support his child’s mother.[2] For millennials that number is a staggering 57%.[3] Closer to home, in Milwaukee over 80% of babies are born into fatherless homes.

Despite these horrible statistics, the norm in America is still a married mother and father raising their biological children together,[4] which means we still have a whole lot of fathers living in a marriage relationship bringing up their kids. Good for those fathers! They’re fighting against the social norms, and their children will benefit greatly from fatherly involvement in their lives. Considering the treatment those dads get today, we should be incredibly grateful for the brave, godly fathers in our own lives and the lives of those we love.

The traditional, nuclear family is still the best means of ensuring the current and future welfare of children. The National Fatherhood Initiative says children living in homes without a father are four times more likely to experience poverty, daughters are seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teen, and these kids are more likely than their peers in other family structures to have behavioral problems, face abuse and neglect, abuse drugs and alcohol, go to prison, commit crime, drop out of high school[5], and the list goes on and the point is obvious. When fathers go missing, our precious children, the next generation, are the ultimate innocent victims.

But there’s something else that fathers portray for their children that is extremely important and that goes directly to our understanding of God and our relationship with Him. Fathers are our earthly representation of God, the ultimate model of Fatherhood. The concerted effort to destroy fatherhood in our culture is really then, at its root, an effort to destroy the Image of God the Father.

Quite honestly, it’s really hard to overstate the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. So, how can we encourage future fathers to be aware of that vital role? Certainly part of the answer is in educating our youth. I’m not talking about just quoting statistics and telling young men how important it is for them to get married, have children and be involved in their kids’ lives, although that’s certainly important too.

I’m talking about countering the message of our culture—a full-scale, frontal attack on the lies drilled into the minds and hearts of our youth who hear so many messages about the unimportance of dads. Our society is so saturated with anti-fatherhood, anti-family sentiment that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin.

But begin we must, and the very best place to begin is in our own families with mom building up dad to the kids and dad being the best role model he can possibly be. We continue in our churches by teaching about God’s plan for fathers and families and giving appropriate recognition, respect and help to fathers. In government we enact policies that expect fathers to marry the mothers of their children and to take care of those children and that then hold them accountable for doing so. Even these small steps can yield huge results as we seek to restore a culture of fatherhood in our communities, state and nation.

To all those dads who are bucking the culture and doing everything they can to be a good dad to their children, we say thank you—and we wish you a wonderful Father’s Day this Sunday.

For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

[1], accessed 6/12/17.

[2], accessed 6/12/17.

[3], accessed 6/12/17.

[4], accessed 6/12/17.

[5], accessed 6/12/17.


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