In Praise of Fathers

June 12, 2017 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


Father Daughter

Just in time for Father’s Day this Sunday comes a new study detailing the impact fathers have on their daughters’ behavior patterns.  In an online article published in Developmental Psychology, researchers from the Universities of Utah and Albany “compared the outcomes of older and younger full biological sisters who experienced the divorce or separation of their parents while growing up, and thus spent differing amounts of time living with their fathers.”  They found that “when fathering was high quality…older sisters were less likely to affiliate with sexually risky peers during adolescence compared to their younger sisters” because they had more time with their fathers pre-divorce than did their younger siblings post-divorce.

This research is sobering, but it is not particularly surprising.  The profoundly formative effect fathers have on their children has been well-documented.  This study serves as both an encouragement for fathers and a challenge to fathers.  It serves as an encouragement for fathers because it is a yet another reminder that they matter – greatly.  In a culture that has enclaves that can, at times, belittle, disparage, and minimize the roles men play in families and in society, this study reminds us of the blessing of dads.  It reminds us that fathers, by how they treat their daughters when they are little, can shape their daughters’ expectations and views of men as they grow up.  But this study also presents a challenge to fathers.  In an age when far too many men make children but do not raise them, this study is a clarifying indictment of the steep price that a man’s absence can incur on his children.  This must change.

In a society that obsesses over personal autonomy and choice, fatherhood is a countercultural sacrifice and call.  Fatherhood compels men to sacrifice many of their freedoms and hobbies for the sake of loving, providing for, and raising their children.  And whether the call of fatherhood comes expectedly or unexpectedly, it should and must be answered wholeheartedly, regardless of whether or not a man feels he’s ready to be a dad.

Many men I know are quite competitive.  They have a desire to beat those who are strong by being even stronger themselves.  Fatherhood, instead of pushing men to be stronger than the strong, invites men to be tender with the vulnerable – their children.  Fatherhood calls for a strength that does not conquer, but loves.  And this is the highest strength of all.  Which is why fathers are worth celebrating.

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Entry filed under: Current Trends, Devotional Thoughts. Tags: , , , , , .

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