Involvement Today, Impacts Tomorrow

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

It’s a dad’s job to provide for his family. In scripture, Timothy tells us, But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. I don’t think Timothy could have been any clearer on what God thinks about someone who does not provide for his family.

We often show disdain for a dad, that we see or hear about, that chooses not to get up every morning and go to work. We say that he isn’t providing for his family, that he doesn’t care enough about them to take make sure that their needs are met. But we need to be careful that only he without sin should cast the first stone.

Don’t get me wrong, a dad should never be OK with not providing financially for his family. That is dad 101. But more important than working hard in order to be able to financially provide more “things”  is providing them with your every day participation in their lives.

A 2012 study by Brigham Young University stated that “Although participation in balance family leisure activities is important and needed, it was fathers’ involvement in the everyday, home-based, common family leisure activities that held more weight than the large, extravagant, out-of-the-ordinary types of activities when examining family functioning,”

Looking back over my childhood, I’ve never thought to myself, I wish I had more things. In fact, I would go as far to say my siblings and I were a little spoiled and wanted for nothing when it came to possessions.

I look over my childhood with some sadness due to the fact that I don’t have many memories of one-on-one time spent with my dad. At 37-years old, the memories that do jump out at me are of my mother taking me to the father/son Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts, she was the only mother there. Or when I was one of the only boys who went on the father/son campout without my dad.

These events may seem trivial to most people and some may even tell me that I’m holding on to unimportant events from my past. But any son or daughter that grew up with something lacking in their relationship with dad will tell you it leaves a wound not easily mended.

In his article, Healing the Father-Wound: The Ultimate Men’s Movement, Gorden Dalbey said, “No pain strikes more deeply into a man’s heart than being abandoned emotionally and/or physically by Dad. No pain, therefore, more directly beckons the saving power of Father God.”

It’s easy for those of us who have experienced, as Dalbey dubs it, the father-wound to understand the impact of a fathers emotional and physical involvement. For those of you that prefer facts, I submit the following from The Fatherhood Project:

  • Children who feel a closeness to their father are: twice as likely as those who do not to enter college or find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, 80% less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms. [1]
  • High levels of father involvement are correlated with higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self-control in children. Children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviors in adolescence. [2]
  • Children with actively involved fathers are: 43% more likely to earn A’s in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged dads. [3]
  • Father engagement reduces the frequency of behavioral problems in boys while also decreasing delinquency and economic disadvantage in low-income families. [4]
  • Father engagement reduces psychological problems and rates of depression in young women. [4]

At times, it may be hard to see in the short-term but a dad’s involvement in their child’s life today will have a lasting impact tomorrow.

God has already given us everything we need to be great dads. We just have to put it to good use.

 


[1] Pruett, K. D. (2000). Fatherneed: Why father care is as essential as mother care for your child. New York: Free Press.
[2] Anthes, E. (2010, May/June). Family guy. Scientific American Mind.
[3] Fathers’ and mothers’ involvement in their children’s schools by family type and resident status. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 2001.
[4] Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica97(2), 153-158.

 

 

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