Grills Up, Ties Off: Father's Day Thoughts from a Future Father
What is it that makes Father's Day something worth celebrating? Why should we even mention it on a page addressing issues pertinent to women? This is actually a very relevant issue, given that our Heavenly Father created the family to function best when fathers are actively involved in the home. When earthly fathers do their job well, mothers, wives, and daughters benefit.
However, I know from personal experience that our culture radically disagrees with this version of fatherhood, and is bombarding young men like myself with its own twisted views. As the presumptive fathers of the future, my peers and I receive very mixed signals about what being a father will mean for us. Voices everywhere from the media to the classroom are challenging us to embrace secular, pluralistic ideas on marriage and parenthood.
Take for example the non-traditional "families" featured in the popular sitcoms Two and a Half Menand Modern Family. These shows humorously attempt to portray homosexual couples and haphazard combinations of extended family as the new parenting norm, able to accomplish the job just as well as a father/mother duo. Films like Adam Sandler's upcoming That's My Boy take a different tack, depicting dads as hopelessly clueless buffoons incapable of successfully raising their kids. Fathers should just step aside and delegate, the movie implies.
But it isn't just Hollywood vying for the attention of future fathers. Politicians and intellectuals are trying to convince me and other young men that we can outsource this job to others, that the father plays only one minor part in parenting his son or daughter. In her It Takes a Village speech at the 1996 Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton told fellow party members that "to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family; it takes teachers; it takes clergy; it takes business people; it takes community leaders; it takes those who protect our health and safety. It takes all of us. Yes, it takes a village."
This sort of logic totally reverses the way things were created to be. While community is very much a good thing, we need to remember that the village needs families with active mothers and fathers in order to thrive, not the other way around. The data clearly supports the fact that plugged-in, married fathers contribute to significantly stronger families, better-rounded children, and consequently a healthier society. In her new book, Marriage Matters, Dr. Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, writes, "Marriage has been called the 'social glue' for the way that it binds fathers to their children and unites couples while helping to strengthen the bonds between people and their nation. � After forty years of distorted data and misrepresentation about the questions related to family structure, there are, literally, thousands of studies that agree that the best family structure for children's well-being is the married couple-mom and dad-family."
Young men like me need to be informed about these facts. Moreover, we need to learn what God's Word has to say concerning our prospective job as fathers. Scripture makes it clear just how great our responsibility will be. The book of Proverbs illustrates time and again how parents - especially fathers - are supposed to pass along Biblical wisdom, Godly character, and Christian values to the next generation. From the beginning, mothers' and fathers' instruction is lauded: "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck." (Proverbs 1:8)
The Lord treasures fathers who seek His will for their family. This Father's Day is an opportunity for all of us as His followers to celebrate the men in our lives who value their wives and children and are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for them.
For me and my peers, the occasion offers us the chance to observe the example of successful Godly fathers firsthand. I challenge other young men to join me this weekend in considering how we can prepare for the future and better imitate the love and kindness of our perfect Heavenly Father. Listening to the culture and expecting the village to pick up the slack is guaranteed to fail, so I urge you with the words of Paul, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
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