By Jairus Mutebe, Presented at Deliverance Church Makerere Hill, Kampala Uganda
We are a country in need of fathers.
Families, and specifically fathers, play a formative role in shaping our childhood and our future. As part of the research done in 2007 among Deliverance Church youth, the following was observed. When asking youth, what was the greatest influence in your life? 59% responded that it was their families. 32% said that the most memorable moments were those received from a domestic environment like family outings, Christian Holidays, dads fulfilling a promise, etc. 19% said the most memorable moments had to do with School and 16% said it had to do with Church.
Fathers are important. To those who do not have a biological father, I give you a quote from Dr. Mark E. Strong, “One of the beautiful things about the church is that while we may not be blood relatives, we are all family in Jesus Christ. Those who may not have biological dads present can have spiritual dads step in and be surrogate fathers.”
Whether fulfilling the role of biological or spiritual fatherhood, there are 4 key components to fulfilling the role.
This is the first step to fathering. The US Census Bureau reported that in 2014 23.6% of American children lived in father-absent homes. In 1960 only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes. The National Fatherhood Initiative (http://www.fatherhood.org/the-father-absence-crisis-in-america) reported ten harmful factors correlated with children being raised in a father-absent home.
In the Deliverance Church youth survey, the percentage of respondents who agreed that the time their fathers spent with them was “Satisfactory” was 33% compared to 54% who answered the same in regards to time their mothers spent with them.
Presence is needed at school meetings, marriage events, during immunizations, picnicking, celebrations, school report discussions, and wherever possible.
In a larger discussion on caring for widows, Paul instructs Timothy, “If anyone does not PROVIDE for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8 saying). A father provides:
- The Basics: food, shelter, clothing and education
- Guidance & Counseling: especially in major life decisions such as where to go to college and marriage
- Care: with hugs and words of affirmation
- A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men.
- What a boy wants to know from his dad: Do I matter to you? Do I make you proud?
The famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, adds to this saying, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
A father protects his family from the external riggers of life. He protects children from dangerous decisions, difficult relatives and neighbors, as well as, from predators.
To profess is “to affirm one’s faith in or allegiance to.” A father declares the importance of following Jesus to his children, but also points out the giftings and value they see in their child. In the Bible you read stories of father’s proclaiming the importance of boldly following God (Job 1:4-5; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 11:19) and proclaiming blessings over their children (Genesis 27: 28-29; Luke 1: 67-79).
A father’s words are potent and they should be used wisely. As a father, take time to declare to your children why you follow Jesus. And take time to identify and encourage the giftings you see in your children and point them to opportunities that allow them to use them God’s glory.
Happy Father’s Day!