The path leads right down to the stream. Large rocks interspersed little tufts of grass speckled through the way. The child lets go of his father’s hands and scampers his way through. The father shouts … “Stop! Wait!” The child continues without pausing, he begins to fall; he screams … but before he hits the ground, gentle arms scoops him up, and holds him closely. He has had a close call. His father gently scolds him…he has learnt his lesson.
“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the lord”. Colossians 3: 20
Who is a father? Who is a Dad?
For centuries these two words have been used interchangeably. Many have described a ‘father’ as merely the sperm donor, whilst you become a ‘dad’ after you have stuck around to see that zygote you’ve produced grows into manhood or womanhood.
How important is this?
It’s fair to say that the institution of family is in dire crisis today. This can be seen by the skyrocketing divorce rates, out-of-wedlock birth statistics, and the rise in juvenile spousal abuse cases.
What does this crisis mean?
Families are the building blocks of societies. Should the family disintegrate then society will also disintegrate since the family’s troubles indirectly affect society. The family is the source of emotional and financial support for children. It is where they learn the initial and most important lessons of life. Some of the lessons learned are as a result of those demonstrated by the attributes of the father.
 Tom Brokaw, US Television commentator (paraphrased)
DIFFERENT ATTRIBUTES OF THE FATHER
The head of the family is the father. Yes! The father! His presence in the home has a profound effect on his children. He provides security for his family, so psychologically, the child no longer feels threatened by actual or perceived danger. This sense of security provides a measure of confidence for the child and he thus faces the world with self assurance.
A father is a teacher. It is from the father a young man learns responsibility and leadership skills. Observing the way his father provides for his family helps him develop skills that would contribute to the approach he carries over to other areas of his life e.g. work, school, his family etc. The absence of this role model leaves a void in that child’s life; he either develops his own value mechanism based on external factors which can either be a positive or negative influence or he becomes altogether defunct somehow stuck in a playful immature mode.
A girl learns interactive skills from her father. She learns how to function with the opposite sex. She learns the appropriate and inappropriate manner in which she should and could be treated.
A FATHER’S RESPONSIBILITIES
Today, demanding financial obligations allow few parents to be with their children from dawn to dusk. Parents however must find time to spend with their young ones. This requires good organizational skills as well as sacrifice. However, children need such attention.
A recent study shows that, “A strong emotional connection to a parent is the best guarantee of a teenager’s health and the strongest barrier to high-risk behaviors.” Yes! Children crave attention from their parents. A mother once asked her children, “If you could have anything you wanted, what would you like most?” All four responded, “More time with Mom and Dad.”
Being a responsible parent means that you should make sure that your children’s needs are satisfied; this includes their need for love, spiritual education and close friendship with their parents. It means helping them to become capable, respectful, and honest adults who treat their fellowmen as equals. To this day parental love and affection is lacking. Some fathers spend all their time “making sure the children have the things that warm them outside, but he’s never had time to give them the things that warm them inside.” In many cases the father, the bread winner, is working away from home and the children seldom see him; they are actually reared by the mother. Fathers, giving your children the attention they need also mean that you are willing to sacrifice pleasures and personal conveniences for the sake of your children’s well-being.
On the other hand, a father who irritates his children with unreasonable commands and needless severity can easily lose their confidence. If he administers discipline in anger, he can alienate his children. They may build up anger within towards their father, for anger begets anger. When this happens, the children submit to discipline, not because they are convinced that it is right, but because they are forced to yield to their father’s superior strength. Such discipline does not produce desired results, as it provides no real incentive for children to change their ways. Usually it leads to their becoming resentful and even rebellious. Of course, fathers are not always going to deal with situations in the best manner. They will make mistakes after all they are humans. However, when done continuously and children realize that, it will erode their respect for their parent, especially if the father tries to gloss over their errors by harshly asserting their authority. But the outcome may be very different if fathers are humble enough to freely admit their mistakes, thereby setting a valuable example for their children who need to learn to do the same.
Remember the scripture states in Colossians 3: 21
“Fathers provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged”.
Further, today as never before great emphasis is placed on more push buttons, more computers, more automation with less physical and mental effort. Also desired by most people are shorter hours and less work to give more leisure time. This rather easy way of life causes some people to develop an aversion to work, even a hatred of it. If you are a victim of such thinking, then you are bound to have a negative approach toward teaching your offspring to work. If you believe that a child should never have to do ‘a lick of work,’ then you will try to shield and protect your child from minimum labor and responsibility. Contrary however, if you feel that supervised work is beneficial for children, you will search out ways of occupying their time and energy with productive activity.
Today we honor fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, fathers to be, uncles, mothers who fill the role of fathers, or anyone who have played the role of a father in our lives.
Happy Fathers Day! God Bless!
By a contributor