Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking at fatherhood.
Fatherhood is a role of incredible importance, and studies are unanimous across the board in finding that fathers are essential to the development and health of their children. Children with fathers who are involved and active in their lives have higher IQ scores by the age of 3 than their peers without fathers, and they suffer from less psychological problems. Other studies suggest that children have both a higher ability to function and quality of family life with fathers who regularly engage in leisure activities—playing in the yard, dinner, sports—than children whose fathers participate in expensive but one-time-only outings. Being an active, loving father will benefit older children as well. A recent study shows that girls with fathers in their lives will be less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.
Yet, while studies and personal experience prove over and over again the importance of fathers, so many men are missing from the lives of their children. The divorce rate in the US is somewhere between 40-50 percent. Single mothers are becoming all too normal. And men who have not had positive male influences in their lives are becoming men who don’t want to be in their children’s lives, either.
So how can the Church help a fatherless culture? For one, the Church must always be ready to talk about the best example of a father anyone could ask for—our Heavenly Father, who shows unconditional love and forgiveness for His children. We must encourage men to see the importance of fatherhood based on God’s goodness, rather than the ideals of men found in this world. Secondly, the Church must be prepared to encourage and mentor teenagers and young people, so that the next generation of men would rejoice and embrace the calling of fatherhood.
- Volunteer with pregnancy centers to be mentors of young fathers. Encourage them to see the importance of their role in their children’s lives, regardless of their relationship with the mother.
- Counsel first time fathers in your church. Pray for them and offer advice when needed.
- Talk to single or divorced fathers in your church. Offer to help with childcare or pickups and drop offs from church activities.
- Lead a retreat with teen boys and talk about sexual integrity and the importance of fatherhood.
Written by AFL Administrator Robin Ferguson