What's a Dad?

What does it take to be a genuine dad? It's been said, "Anyone can be a father, it takes a man to be a dad."

The May 4, 1998 cover of Sports Illustrated (SI) featured a little boy asking, "Where's Daddy?" CNN/SI's Web page reports:

Among professional athletes out-of-wedlock births are epidemic....According to SI, one of the NBA's top agents says he spends more time dealing with paternity claims than he does negotiating contracts. The agent tells the magazine that there might be more kids out of wedlock than there are players in the NBA.
This neglect is not isolated to famous sports heroes. Nearly one-third of all children in this country are born to unwed mothers. The social science data strongly suggests that fatherlessness is having a critical impact on our personal and public lives. In response, grassroots efforts to promote responsible fatherhood, like the National Fatherhood Initiative, are springing up.

Many men with families find themselves caught between new demands to provide more nurturing and the traditional role of bringing home the lion's share of the bacon. What's a dad to do?

In honor of Father's Day (and fathers everywhere), we've created a special focus to briefly explore the current state of fatherhood in our culture and how to address it, one daddy at a time. Below you will find tips on being a better father, inspiration to let God lead your efforts, social science data on the effects of fatherlessness and more. We pray that this helps you or a father you know carry out one of life's most important roles.

Feature Articles:

Father Facts
Wade Horn, Ph.D.
National Fatherhood Initiative
A complete review of the current social science literature on fatherhood and family trends, this booklet, compiled by National Fatherhood Initiative president Wade Horn, Ph.D., emphasizes how father absence is related to our nation's most pressing social ills such as crime and poverty. (Entire book online)

The Eclipse of Fatherhood
Gilbert Meilaender
Review of a very popular book by David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America. More than half of our nation's children will spend at leadst some of their childhood growing up without a father in the home. Never before have so many men abandoned their children. Why if fatherhood declining? Can anything be done about it? With passion and precision, Blankenhorn demonstrates that whether our concern is teenage pregnancy, violence against women, educational failure, or child poverty, no social trend of our generation is more dangerous than fatherlessness.

The Family and the Church: How Should Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Work Out in Practice?
George W. Knight III
Several biblical principles for family life are described in this essay, particularly exploring one take on the biblical views of decision-making in marriage, the man's role in the church, etc.

Knighthood and Biblical Manhood
Lou Whitworth
In this essay we will be looking at an inspiring book, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, in an effort to learn how we can motivate our sons to live lives of honor and nobility. This book, written by Robert Lewis, grew out his own experiences as he and some close friends struggled to lead their sons into balanced, biblical masculinity.

Practical Helps:

Ten Ways to Be a Better Father
Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.
From a tract from American Tract Society.

Ten Ways to Be a Better Dad
National Fatherhood Initiative
Another view of the top priorities of fathering from a brochure by The National Fatherhood Initiative.

When Your Teen Rejects Your Values
Rick Rood
Practical guidelines to dealing with strong-willed rebellion of teen children.

Advice for Parents
Ron Nash
This material is taken from the book The Totally Useable Summit Ministries Guide to Choosing a College.

Rock Music
Jerry Solomon
Contains a helpful section on parent/child communication regarding rock music.

Related Articles:

Where's Dad? A Call for Fathers with the spirit of Elijah

Weldon Hardenbrook issues a call for fathers to return to their God-given role in the family. (This article is Chapter 23 of the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds.)

Feature Site:

National Fatherhood Initiative
The mission of the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the number of children growing up with loving, committed and responsible fathers. (This site is not affiliated with Leadership University.)

We would love to get your feedback on this special focus. Please tell us what you think.

Go here to see our past Special Focus features.