My father died in a car accident when I was 16 years old and it was one of the most significant moments of my life. I was fortunate to have had my father around during my formative years. In the years that followed, I sought out lots of substitutes to fill the hole that my deceased father had left. That hole was eventually filled years later through a relationship with my heavenly father.
In his book Healing the Masculine Soul, author Gordon Dalbey tells the story of a Roman Catholic nun who worked in a men’s prison. One day a prisoner asked her to buy him a Mother’s Day card for his mother. She did, and the word got out to other prisoners, and soon this nun was deluged with requests, so she put in a call to Hallmark Cards, who donated to the prison several large boxes of Mother’s Day cards. The warden arranged for each inmate to draw a number, and they lined up through the cellblocks to get their cards to send to their moms.
A few weeks later, the nun was looking ahead on her calendar, and decided to call Hallmark again and ask for Father’s Day cards, to avoid another rush. As the holiday approached, the warden announced free cards were again available at the chapel. To the nun’s surprise, not a single prisoner asked her for a Father’s Day card.
Fathers in the home are vital to the moral upbringing of children, boys, and girls alike. You’ve heard it said that husbands/fathers are to be the spiritual leaders of the home. In his book, Why Men Don’t Go To Church, David Murrow cites a study that explains why. Researchers from Switzerland examined whether parents’ religious habits were transmitted to their offspring. They studied different variables, but one critical factor towered above the rest: the practices of the father determine whether children grow up attending church or not. And here’s the shocker: the habits of the mother have almost no influence over their kids’ future devotion.
Consider these findings: When mom is a regular churchgoer, but dad attends infrequently, just 3 percent of their kids go on to become regular churchgoers. When mom is regular, but dad never attends, just 2 percent become regular attenders.
Now, let’s flip the chart. What if the dad is the faithful churchgoer?
When both mom and dad attend church regularly, 33 percent of kids grow up to attend regularly. When dad is regular in attendance but mom only goes once in a while, the figure jumps to 38 percent. Here’s the real bombshell: when dad is a faithful attender but mom never attends, 44 percent of the kids end up as regular church attenders!
Bottom line: in spiritual matters, kids take their cues from dad. If dad doesn’t go to church, chances are very slim that his children will become regular worshipers. But if dad leads by example, children are twenty-two times more likely to become lifelong churchgoers. Fathers have been given a responsibility to teach their children.
Moses gave the command in Deuteronomy 6:6-7,“These words which I command you this day shall first be upon your heart; and then you shall teach them diligently to your children.” He said to talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road.”
With Father’s Day approaching, be thinking of ways to attract and affirm men, challenging them to be the spiritual leaders in their homes.