This is my first father's Day after the death of my own father. I could speak of my father in glowing terms to celebrate Father's Day, but that would not be my experience. So perhaps I should speak of other people's fathers in glowing terms, and there are some men, like my grandfather or my father-in -law who have provided exemplary examples of fatherhood for me. But that doesn't cover the true value of fatherhood either.
I have been impressed by the statistics showing the impact of the lack of a father's presence to his children that I first saw in the Patriot Post.
This bit particularly caught my attention:"Consider these sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of the Census: Children who live apart from their fathers will account for 40 percent of incarcerated adults, 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children."
When I reviewed my own life after reading those statistics, it hit me once again what a vital role fathers play in our families. They are the gatekeepers. Their very presence, whether they are good or bad at being fathers keeps their family safer than it would be without them. The knowledge that a girl has a father at home to whom he will be forced to answer for bad behavior can keep a young man polite on a date. The knowledge that a woman has a husband who will come looking for justification if the cost seems out of line will keep a repairperson from trying to bamboozle a woman who he thinks is unable to understand the technicalities of his/her work.
Even if a couple divorces, it is vitally important for the father to live close to and maintain a relationship with his children and his spouse. What woman will bring an abuser into her life if the father of her children is right there to contest the behavior? What child, having to live with the potential for their mother to bring home an abusive boyfriend doesn't thank God for having a caring father nearby to go to for help? What child doesn't benefit from having a second parental opinion available to them for any major decision?
But beyond those simple things are the more important aspects of fatherhood in society. A father shapes his children's view of God with all that entails. Young boys look to their fathers to provide an example of how they ought to behave to become men of good standing in the community. Young girls look to their fathers to provide an example of what qualities they want to look for in a husband.
My thanks to all those fathers who are doing their best to keep and raise their families in accordance with God's principles.
"If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" ~Luke 11:11-13