What's a Dad?

Our culture has transformed the standard image of fatherhood from the revered Father Knows Best personna to the idiotic, irrelevant Homer Simpson of The Simpsons cartoon family. Feminists and some of the culturally chic have declared the role of father unnecessary; they're merely sperm donors. But broken children and the social science statistics suggest otherwise. Psychologist Paul C. Vitz' new book, Faith of the Fatherless, traces the pattern of paternal influence (or lack thereof) in such notably bitter men as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.

It's been said, "Anyone can be a father, it takes a man to be a dad." Sadly, many men are not "showing up at gametime." The May 4, 1998 cover of Sports Illustrated (SI) featured a little boy asking, "Where's Daddy?" CNN/SI's Web page reported:

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.{1}
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{2}, 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? We've created a special focus to briefly explore the state of fatherhood in our culture and how to address it. Below you will find tips on being a better father, inspiration to let God lead your efforts, extensive 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:

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.

Earthly Fathers
Scott Sawyer
A very personal tribute to a father.

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.

Related Articles:

Fathers of Male Homosexuals: A Collective Clinical Profile
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
Explores some complex dynamics of father-son relationship in a clinical/therapy style. Could early knowledge of these communications blockers between father and son help avoid pitfalls of homosexuality in your son? Could they provide a hint of insight into the need for repairing such damage in later years, even leading to a lifestyle change to heterosexuality for the son?

National Child Care
Kerby Anderson
This essay looks at the important issues concerning the subject of day care. What are the implications of a nationally subsidized day care system? How does day care affect early childhood development? What are the psychological costs? What are the social costs? What are the medical costs? These are just a few of the questions we will try to answer in these pages. Psalm 127 reminds us the children are "a gift of God." Before we develop national programs that may harm our children, we need to count the costs and make an informed decision.

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.)

{1} CNN/SI Report
{2} National Fatherhood Initiative home page

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