Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wanted: Fathers

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it" writes the American writer Clarence Budington Kelland.

It was 2:30am and I heard the telltale thud of footsteps heading towards our bedroom. The door banged open and in ran 3 year old Jonah - well trained to run straight round to Jared's side of the bed. "I'm scared", he cried. Without a word, Jared took him in his arms and snuggled him up into the bed. Within minutes, in his Father's safe, comforting arms, Jonah was quietly snoring. I smiled to myself as I watched them cuddled up, snoring together and thought how grateful I am that my boys have such an incredible Father. I couldn't let Father's Day pass without writing a blog on the importance of Fathers. Forgive me for being politically incorrect, but children need Fathers. They need them more than they need an X-box or playstation. They need their Dad more than they need a TV and DVD in their bedroom. They need their Dad more than they need expensive holidays abroad.

The role of the Father is so often downgraded. The Mother's role is clear. She was created to nurture, feed and care for her child; to administer magic kisses when they graze their knees; to sing soothing songs when the baby goes to sleep; to love even when they are being unlovely ( and we all know how hard that is!).

What, then, is the role of the Daddy? Does he just provide the sperm to make the little human? Is he truly no longer needed after 'the act'? Absolutely not. For different reasons, a Father is vital in the lives and development of both boys and girls.

My boys are privileged in today's fatherless society to benefit from the care of their exceptional Daddy. In his gentle and careful manner he leads them to take risks. He bundles and fights with them, teaching them when to stop. He is demonstrative in his love and affection for me (much to their disgust) which will one day stand them in good stead for their marriages. He shows emotion and teaches them how to handle their own. He takes the lead in their discipline. He shows them love by spending time with them, doing things that he might not actually want to be doing. By being passionate for his God, his boys follow suit.

As their Mother, I can never prepare my boys for manhood in the way that their Father can. Everything he says and does is watched and copied. It is an enormous responsibility (which young men who are 'sowing their seed' should be made aware of, but that is an entirely different blog) and one which men need to take more seriously. It is so exciting when we see men who are brave enough to accept the challenge of investing in the lives of their children. What an immense task, but how satisfying it must be to see the end product.

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