Have you ever seen someone stuck trying to solve a problem and from a distance you knew exactly what the solution to the problem was? You think to yourself, “come on man, all you have to do is ...” The solution is crystal clear in your mind and it drives you crazy that the person you are watching can’t seem to see it.I didn’t say the solution would be an easy process; I just said the solution is clear. This is where we get things messed up. We often want solutions to be obvious and easy. The reality is that sometimes the solution is obvious, but the implementation is difficult.
In this past year of running Rock Solid Families and the 20 years before that working as a school counselor, this is exactly how I feel about the many societal ills we face as a nation. Whether we are talking about crime rates, homelessness, poverty, drug abuse, lack of civility, mass shootings, etc. The one common factor is broken families, and to drill a little deeper, lack of Strong Dads! The statistics are overwhelming!
Poverty – Children living in female headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6 percent, over 4 times the rate in married-couple families. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.)
Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse. (Source:U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Education – 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father-absent homes are more likely to be truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood. (Source: Edward Kruk, Ph.D., “The Vital Importance of Paternal Presence in Children’s Lives.” May 23, 2012.)
Crime - A 1% increase in the proportion of single-parent families in a neighborhood is associated with a 3% increase in an adolescent’s level of violence. (Source: Knoester, C., & Hayne, D.A. (2005). “Community context, social integration into family, and youth violence.” Journal of Marriage and Family 67, 767-780.)
Sexual Activity – Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree. (Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.)
The solution is right in front of our faces. In fact, if you are a man, you can look directly in the mirror and the solution will look right back at you. It is time to stop ignoring the “elephant in the room”, We need our dads to step up and do their job!
At Rock Solid Families, this is a primary area that we focus our efforts toward. We are working hard to shine the light on the necessity for our men to step up and be the fathers they have been called to be. Yes, the solution is easy, but the work is hard! Being a Strong Dad takes sacrifice, commitment, perseverance, and unwavering faith in the mission of fatherhood. It means doing things that we don’t always want to do. It means giving time, money, effort, and our heart to something other than ourselves.
In an article written by David Peach, 11 Qualities of a Christian Father, David list 11 things that a father needs to be or do in order to positively impact their family and the generations to come:
Love God - living for your creator and recognizing that you didn’t create yourself, but were created with gifts for a purpose to serve
Love Others - demonstrate love through your willingness to sacrifice for others
Be a Mentor - understand your responsibility to coach, teach, and lead
Be Patient - learn to take a deep breath and step away
Be a Good Worker - show your family what a good work ethic is through your actions
Be Self Controlled - understand your emotions and keep them appropriate and healthy
Be Sober - avoid overuse of drugs and alcohol
Be Blameless - own your wrong doings
Be Worthy of Respect - your actions matter
Not a Lover of Money - understand the purpose and value of money
Understand and Practice the Fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
How are you doing in these areas? I know I struggle, but that struggle is with my selfish human nature and desires. Understanding this is our first step to growing as a Strong Dad!
If you are a father or plan to be one, I challenge you to take a good look at the men you have had in your life. Emulate the ones that were positive and challenged you to be a great man. Learn from the ones that tore you down and make a promise to yourself and your family that you will not do this to your children.
If you have not been the father you know you need to be or are feeling convicted by this article, turn that conviction toward a positive change. Start by making a commitment to your family. Make apologies and begin the healing and rebuilding process. Trust is a difficult thing to rebuild. If you have not been trustworthy in the past, don’t expect that everyone will begin trusting you the minute you tell them you are a newly committed father. Trust is developed by actions, not words. Show your family that you are the father and leader of your home. Be the man God called you to be and your family needs you to be. Die to your selfish boyhood self and rise as the STRONG DAD positively impacting generations to come!
I challenge you to listen in to our weekly podcast called Strong Dads and follow us on this journey as iron sharpens iron. We don’t claim to have all the answers,but we trust in the One who does, Our Heavenly Father. You can listen to all our episodes by searching “Strong Dads” on Spotify, IHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, or on our website rocksolidfamilies.org/podcasts. If you or someone you know needs help or more information on how to be a Strong Dad, contact Rock Solid Families at 812-576-7625 or contact us through our website rocksolidfamilies.org.