Rev. Jim Flagg of First Methodist Humble

As you read this, I hope all you fathers and father figures had a wonderful Father’s Day. I am painfully aware Father’s Day doesn’t get the same press as Mother’s Day. I mean the card, flower and jewelry industry doesn’t make the same money on Dad, so it doesn’t have all the hoopla … apparently, the role of father is not as sentimental as the role of mother (I’m OK with that). But Dads do have their own style. If Mom is known for sentiment, Dads are known for “dad jokes” and there are some real groaners like: “What do you call it when Batman skips church?” Answer: Christian Bale or “What time did the man go to the dentist?” Answer: Tooth hurt-y. You can find all kinds of examples online.

While Dads are known for such jokes, the role of father is not a joke. Too many sitcoms and movies portray fathers as either bumbling idiots or a menace. Too many fathers have acquiesced their role and to the detriment of their children. Research has shown disturbing trends when a son or daughter is deprived of a father figure in life. Dad-deprived boys tend to be less empathetic, more depressed and more disobedient. It also makes them vulnerable to strong, destructive alpha males (i.e., gang leaders and drug dealers). It is just as bad for Dad-deprived girls. They tend to have self-esteem issues and struggle to build and maintain relationships. Dad-deprived women are more likely to have eating disorders and are more prone to depression.

Dads, from you, your son learns what it means to be a man and to feel like they are one. Psychologist Warren Farrell writes, “To an eight-year-old boy, their father is a god.” Dads, you teach your sons how to treat women and who God is and how to relate to him. Dads, your role is a serious one. How are you doing?

Dad, from you, your daughters learn what to look for in a man and an expectation for how she should be treated. Your daughter receives a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. From a father, a daughter receives love and affection in positive ways that help her grow. A daughter’s daddy is her protector, provider and her prince in shining armor. Dads, are you living into this role?

I am painfully aware of the growing number of single parent homes, usually mom, trying to hold the family together. Too often fathers fail to live into the role God designed for fathers within a family … some by abandoning the role altogether and others through abuse and mistreatment. In such times, their presence is endangering their families. This is where the church, school mentors, coaches, extended family, and friends step in. Now more than ever we need to live into the African proverb which states, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Every dad is going to make mistakes, we are only human, but to all those fathers and father figures who keep plugging along loving, protecting, and guiding your children, I pray God’s blessings, wisdom and guidance. You are so needed … no joke.

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