Last night we saw the movie Courageous at our church. It was excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. It’s a Christian movie made by the same people who made Fireproof. The essential message of the movie is to have the courage to be a better father and husband in a world that doesn’t place high value on those titles. The movie talked about how detrimental it is for children to not have a father in their lives growing up and I can attest to that fact in my own life. Statistics show that 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes, 90% of homeless and runaways come from fatherless homes, and 63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes. That would suggest that having a father around is very important to the overall well-being of the child. Of course there is a difference between just having a father present in your life and that father being there for you. My biological father and I have a relationship; he is in my life, but is he a father figure to me? No. I would venture to say I do more parenting of him then he does of me. That is a sad fact of a lot of fathers today.
What children need is a father to be involved in their lives. Ephesians 6:4 states, “4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” The Bible commands fathers to not be passive, but active in the training and instruction of their children. Fathers need to step up and be present in their children’s lives.
Personally, I have to say that Glenn does a great job of being a father to our children. But it takes effort. I know there are times when he is doing stuff with the kids when he would rather be doing something else. And I know he is aware that the kids are watching him and he is trying to be a good example. He is not just present in the kids lives, he is there for them and that is intentional. Parenting has to be intentional, you can’t just be in the same house with your kids and think you are parenting them.
Glenn and I were watching that movie last night and some of the scenes were about fathers parenting little girls, and young women. We both commented on how foreign that seems to us and how it makes us a little nervous to think about parenting a girl. But I know Glenn will do a great job at it, because he will be intentional about parenting her.
One theme in the movie is about stopping the chain of destructive parenting in your life and doing things differently with your children. I did not have a good father, and I have to be intentional about stopping that bad parenting chain with me and my children and being there for my boys in a way my father wasn’t. I am not a father, but I am supporting and encouraging Glenn in his fatherhood with our boys and making sure it is better than the experience I had as a child. That is one thing I am looking forward to about having a little girl someday, changing the pattern of fatherlessness in my past and creating new habits and parenting in our children.