How Real Fathers Make Life Richer

On Father’s Day we honor the dads who make the world a better, richer place. 

I should probably define terms. Some guys are “just-a-father.” That is, they made a strategic biological connection with a specific obstetric result. That’s it. Then they disappeared.

The legacy of these “just-a-fathers” is grim. Did you know children in father absent-homes are five times more likely to be poor? Or that they are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be sexually abused, be sexually active far too early, and end up in jail? 

Just-a-fathers have not earned and do not deserve our respect. Today is not their day.

Today is a day for celebrating Real Fathers. Who are these guys and how do they make life richer?

By their actions, Real Fathers model a noble life. They show their sons how a man treats a woman. They give their daughters a high “man standard” to which every potential suitor had better measure up.

1. A Real Father protects what is important. Moms are protective too, of course. But a Real Father embraces his responsibility to shield his wife and children. He understands this involves sacrificing a little (or sometimes a lot) of himself. 

This protection means watching out for predatory forces. A Real Father makes sure he understands what his children are viewing online, how they’re being influenced by their social group, and what they’re being taught at school and elsewhere. A Real Father also takes precautions against accidental events that could bring harm to his kids. He checks the smoke alarms. He buys life insurance. 

Because he’s protective, a Real Father is vigilant about his children’s innocence, opportunity and liberty.

2. A Real Father provides what is important. Women play a significant role in providing income for their families. But the statistics aren’t as encouraging for families without a working father. So, a Real Father provides economically. Most of that time, that means he goes to work, even when the work doesn’t meet some deep emotional need in his soul. He’s dad, so he works.

But if circumstances are such that it’s better for Mom to work and Dad to stay home taking care of the kids, he’s man enough to recognize that reality and play that role.

But he doesn’t stop there. A Real Father also provides emotionally. At the end of a long, tiring day, good dads reach deep within and find the resources necessary to give, just a little bit more, to those he loves—and who need his love.

3. A Real Father participates in what is important. Real Fathers aren’t passive. They don’t come home and “check out” mentally and emotionally, while Mom oversees everything from mealtime to bath time to bedtime. 

A Real Father engages. He helps with the science fair project, goes to the game, listens to the heartbroken teen (as one man told me, it may only be puppy love, but it’s real to the puppy!) and talk with that…thing…that wants to take his priceless daughter to homecoming. 

4. A Real Father portrays what is important. It’s not enough to say all the right things. If the kids see Dad talking one way, and living another, confusion and rebellion are just over the horizon. 

By their actions, Real Fathers model a noble life. They show their sons how a man treats a woman. They give their daughters a high “man standard” to which every potential suitor had better measure up. 

And if he wants his children to grow up with a vibrant faith, he makes sure there’s not a disconnect between his pious words about God and his lifestyle. 

If all that sounds like hard work, it is. Real Fathering is the hardest and best work to which any man can ever aspire. 

If you’ve got a Real Father in your life, tell him how much you appreciate him today. And you’re “just-a-father” today, let this be the day you make the brave, momentous decision to become a Real Father.

Because Real Fathers make life richer for everyone…even for themselves.

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