Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers make to the lives of their children. In Singapore it is observed on the third Sunday in June. In Thailand December 5th is Father’s Day. This is the day the present King of Thailand was born, and the Thais think of him as the “Father of the Nation”. It is appropriate for all Thais to celebrate Father’s Day on the king’s birthday. The Scripture calls kings “fathers”, “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers”. (Isa. 49:23). The call to honour the fathers whether be it kings or common citizen is biblical.
A study shows that the role of the father in the child’s development is important. The vast majority of neurotics, both children and adults, grew up in homes where there was no father or the father was absent or weak, and the mother was domineering. David neglected his son Absalom who became the greatest heartbreak of his life. You can’t neglect your children and win.
One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behaviour, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behaviour. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavioural problems and that girls had stronger self-esteem.
In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, achieve academic success and avoid drugs. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of their children.
Good fathers reflect the Heavenly Father
The loss of a father hurts the daughter’s ability to relate healthily to males. Dad’s absence when the children are young tends to lead to immaturity and poor peer adjustment. In general children see fathers more than mothers in the setting of direction of the family. When father participates actively in child care, boys in the family are likely to be more masculine and they are able to cooperate more in school.
Many studies show that lengthy absence of the father from the home is linked with poor adjustment to adverse impact than absence because of death. Of course, some fathers tear down rather than build up. An aggressive, brutal dad who rejects or neglects a son is likely to produce a delinquent, anxious or dejected youth.
A loving father, who guides but does not arbitrarily impose his will, tends to nurture mature offsprings. God’s word to Abraham is just as significant now as 3,500 years ago – “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment”.
Stressing on the importance of fathering raises painful questions for many single motherhood. What can such mothers do? Many children without a father have found that other men in the family of faith can help fill the void, and guide them in keeping the way of the Lord. For a woman bringing up her children alone can look up to God’s people.
The gospel of Matthew begins with a long list of names tracing from Abraham to David, and from David to the family in which Jesus was born. It is instructive to observe in this list that many godly parents had wicked and ungodly sons. The names of Rehoboam, Joram, Amon and Jechonias should teach us humbling lessons. They were all wicked men unlike their pious fathers. Grace does not run in the families. It needs something more than good examples and good advice to make us children of God. They that are born again are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13). Praying parents should pray night and day that their children may be born of the Spirit.
How thankful we can be for fathers who help their children “walk worthy of God” (1 Thess. 2:12). While 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 is primarily directed toward church leaders, Paul talks about how their role is similar to a father’s. He states: “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged everyone of you, as a father doth his children.” The word exhorted is “to call near”. Children need their fathers to give them encouragement. The word comforted is “to console”. Nothing is more valuable to a child than the time given by a father to listen and talk. Without constant relating, relationships turn cold. Charged is “to affirm”.
Fathers challenge their children by affirming the truth of God’s word as they live it out in front of them. And even in failings, they acknowledge what is right through the asking of forgiveness.