There is no doubt in my mind that in today’s society there are many forces that are threatening one of the most important and critical institutions of society, the family. St. Pope John Paul II said that the family is the primary cell of society, it is indispensable, and the future of society as a whole depends on it. I believe that most of the issues we have today in society stem from a breakdown of the family. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and fully transparent, we will find that at the root of the problems we face today, it points back to the family and a lack of leadership and love. This is not to pass judgment, but a reality of our human flaws and brokenness.
In this post I want to focus on the role of the Christian father and how men should be thinking about fatherhood. The Christian father plays an instrumental role in the family, he is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the Church. As Christian men we should look to Christ for direction on how to lead and love. When I think about how Christ loved, one word comes to mind…Relentless! As I think of the word relentless, the song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury comes to mind. It reminds me of how, as a Christian father, I should strive to love my children. The words are inspiring and challenge me to give my all in pursuit of being the best father to my children.
Let’s not kid ourselves, being a great father is no easy task and it will require sacrifice and strong leadership to win. Being a strong leader encompasses courage, commitment, patience, perseverance, and hard work. At times fatherhood can seem like a daunting task, overbearing, and just exhausting to the point of just giving up and settling for mediocrity. So how do we as fathers find the wisdom, strength, and courage to lead and love for the sake of our family? We turn to Christ for the grace to lead and love as he did…to lay down our lives in service to others.
Be Bold and Courageous
Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the presence of fear but having the willingness to face it! When a building is burning down, firefighters don’t run away from the fire…they face it and go into it! In their minds they turn their should into a must, they raise the level of necessity because the stakes are too high. The same is true for fathers, we can no longer be bystanders watching our homes burn down (metaphorically). We must raise our game and find the courage to act, to raise our standards and level of expectancy for ourselves and our children.
As a father, I have to stop fearing that if I raise my standards and level of expectancy for my children, they will not “like me”, not see me as “their buddy”, or that I will be different from the “norm”. The fear factor is getting in our way to lead with courage, to be a greater force for good, and to inspire our children to have higher expectations for themselves. The role of the Christian father is to train and prepare their children for the arena of life, to be in their corner and empower them with the right mindset to win in life.
As fathers, we cannot give what we don’t have, so if we are serious about taking action and being bold, we must look inward and begin with ourselves. Let’s aspire to be the best father we can be, to lead by example and inspire our children to do the same and make a positive impact in society.
Success Comes From Commitment
Success in any area of life doesn’t just happen by accident, it comes from a commitment to giving your very best and not quitting when it gets tough. Anything great requires sacrifice and commitment. A commitment to stay focused on the desired outcome. A commitment to push beyond our emotions, especially when we don’t “feel” like doing it. A commitment to being the best father we can be, regardless of the hard times, difficulties and disappointments. A commitment to win!
It is so critical that we make a commitment to pour our lives into our children and inspire them to believe in themselves and their God given abilities. Sadly in today’s world many young people don’t have a clear understanding of their self-identity and potential, and therefore live half committed lives and settle for average. Fathers must make the time to be there for their children to support and encourage them 100% as they navigate through the challenges of life. They should make it a priority to help them learn and understand who they are as children of God, that they are made in the image and likeness of God and have dignity.
As a Christian father it is my duty and obligation to train and prepare my children for life. Part of that training is to help shape how they think about themselves. Everything begins with the mind, we must teach them to master their mind first, to understand and believe that they came into this world with a God-given purpose, and that they have the skills and ability to achieve their purpose. Our children look to us as their father to lead, guide, and inspire them. Let us make a commitment to instill in them a desire to aspire for greatness in everything they do!
The Value of Patience
Let’s face it, no one likes to wait. We live in an instant gratification world, we want it here and now. We want to see results immediately, but the reality is that most good things in life with great value take time and patience. In fact, I would even say that we as humans appreciate and value things more when we have to wait and work hard for it, and I think it’s because it cost us something, it wasn’t just easily given to us. Raising children is no different. Our kids can sometimes drive us crazy, increase our level of stress and frustration, and at times disappointment us. So what are we to do as a father when we seem to have no more patience and energy? We DO NOT give up! We stay in the fight for our children’s sake.
As fathers, we are called to dig down deep into our souls and ask for the virtue of patience. With all of our flaws and brokenness, Christ did not give up on mankind, he was patient and embraced his cross to the very end so that we can receive the gift of salvation, therefore, we as Christian fathers must do the same for our children.
There is a deep sense of gratitude and fulfillment when you have poured your life into your children, giving them your time, energy, and relentless patience… instilling in them moral values…until one day they come around and finally get it! It’s an incredible awesome feeling when you as a father can sit back and witness all your hard work and patience paid off!
Persevere in the Midst of Challenges
When life gets tough and the challenges of fatherhood wear us down we tend to want to give up and quit. We tell ourselves this is just too hard and it requires too much work. When we are faced with these moments we must remind ourselves of our “Why”. Our “Why” must be bigger than ourselves. We need to take the focus off ourselves and redirect all of our energy and focus on why our children need us by their side.
My “Why” is because I believe that every child has a deep desire and need to be loved and accepted by their father in a unique way that only a father can fulfill. I also believe that the family is the primary cell of society and that the future of society as a whole depends on it. As a Christian father it is my duty and obligation to raise my children with good values, to teach them right from wrong so that they may grow up and do good in the world. Regardless of how hard it gets we must persevere for the sake of our children and society.
Hard Work Will Lead to Success!
Any successful outcome is preceded by hard work, there is no way around it. Whether it be in your education, business, career, health or sports, winning will require you to do the work and put in the time. Being a father and raising children is no different, if we are serious about leading and loving as a father, we must be willing to take action and work hard!
The world is broken and the stakes are very high…it is up to us as Christian fathers to decide, act, and commit. Let’s make that commitment and take full ownership and accountability to lead and love relentlessly!