Father’s Day is a day to celebrate fathers. Our culture seems to place little value on the role of fathers. Dr. David Popenoe-Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University writes,
"Fathers are more than just second adults in the home. Involved fathers- especially biological fathers, bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is likely to bring. They provide protection, economic support and male role models. They have a parenting style that is significantly different from that of a mother and that difference is important in healthy child development.”
Embrace the glorious mess that you are!
Men and woman are different. They parent differently. My wife and I work together in the training of our children, yet we both have distinct parenting styles. With great apprehension, and a little humor, I approached my children and asked them to describe, in their own words, our different parenting styles.
According to our children, I am the one that they come to for finances (apparently I am a walking ATM machine!), I am more indulgent (they come to me before mom), and I give “guidance.” I tend to speak first, listen later (ouch!), and I am more “emotionally driven.” (seriously Elizabeth?)
My wife, according to the Donnelly tribe members, is more nurturing and tends to allow them more open communication (seriously?), the disciplinarian (they have a good healthy fear of Mama Bear), definitely more organized (totally agree!) and the more practical one (okay, I am a dreamer).
The family unit, as God ordained it to be, is in a crisis. According to the United States Department of Justice, one in three children are living without a father in the home in America.
Using my above research (my tribal council thoughts) my children benefit from having my wife and myself as active parents in their lives. If I was not in the home they would have a significant loss in their lives.
According to the latest psychological research:
"Growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain.”
Studies have proven that children without a father in the home are more aggressive, susceptible to emotional distress, have low self- esteem, do poorly in school, are more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to commit suicide, and more like to use illegal drugs. Wow! Men, we are important!
At the young age of 3, my biological father went to buy cigarettes and never returned. In a small apartment in Bay Shore, Long Island, I watched my mother slowly slip into a deep depression.
I remember being the little boy without a dad on the baseball field, the one who received free school lunches, and the one who had no one show up at school on parent day. Even at a young age I realized that I was missing something…but I wasn’t sure what it was. Thankfully, my maternal grandfather stepped up to the plate and did his best to be the much needed father in my life.
Then along came Kevin.
I remember my mom dating other guys and I would simply drive them away. But Kevin was different. He played catch with me, took me out for ice cream, and never minded me tagging along with him and mom. When I was nine years old he and my mom married.
It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.
My dad, Kevin, recently went to his heavenly reward. I was privileged to spend his last few days with him. The week began with he and I sitting up late at night, talking things over. We had to forgive some things, have clarity, and simply talk about our life together.
As the week progressed he was not always able to speak, sleeping for long periods of time. He eventually slipped away as family gathered all around him.
I am so thankful for the REAL MEN God placed in my life. Each loved me unconditionally, instilled life lessons into my heart, and had great influence in the man I am today.
My Pastor, Uncle David Minor Sr, would drive the car around town, hunt me down, and take me to youth group. He was determined that I would serve the Lord! He encouraged me to attend Bible College, dedicated our children to the Lord, and always had an ear to hear my complaints. I was so honored to work alongside of him for three years. No amount of money could ever replace those precious times together. Although he is with the Lord now, his wisdom continues to influence my ministry from heaven.
My grandfather, James Minor, Chief of Police, was my strength. He would call me on the phone just to pray over me, or simply give me a word of encouragement. Pastor Jim Minor taught me to love the unlovable in our world…the addict, the homeless, the poor. And my father in law, Jerry Morrison, still stands strong beside me as I pastor Strong Tower Church. He has taught me the meaning of faithfulness
May your children find you faithful!
Men, I want to challenge you to be a FORCE in the life of your wife and children. You have the power to influence their destiny. Don’t take that lightly. Rise up and be the spiritual leader that God called you to be in the home. Be a man of prayer. A man that digs deep into the Word of God. A man of honor.
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How has your father/step father, or grandfather influenced you in your life? Let us know in the comment section below!