The Perception of Single Fatherhood
- Thursday, August 22, 2013
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
Be honest: when you hear the words “single dad,” what sort of image immediately pops into your mind? Do terms such as “absentee” or “deadbeat” top the list? Or, do you think of a man with solo custody of his children? Do you see them as equal to a single mom? Is he a sinner, or a prime candidate for the same grace God bestows upon each one of us daily? Interesting topic; one I’m sure that many people do not think of regularly. But why not? Are there not plenty of men out there raising their sons and daughters, either by themselves or in a co-parenting situation? Is it possible a “single dad” can be any man who is involved or wants to be involved with his children? (I whole-heartedly believe that is a big “Yes”!) This was a topic we covered a while back in our small group. To help shed some light on the subject, I will quickly cover four “point of views” that all add up to one very important question:
Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?
The World’s Point of View
Look, I am not going to deny that one bad apple can ruin a whole bushel. I am well aware of the devastating effect fatherlessness has had on this world. However, to place all single dads in the same category would be equivalent to stereotyping any racial or social class in a likewise manner. It just doesn’t work. We put great emphasis on the struggles of single moms in this country (and I am not disregarding that at all) but we immediately assume there is no dad in place. Please be encouraged that there are in fact THOUSANDS of loving and willing fathers whose main focus is to stay involved in their kids' lives to the greatest capacity they are able.
I asked the guys in our group what sort of “tags” had been placed on them as single dads by others. Many of the responses were less than pleasant or supportive. Single parenting in any aspect is extremely difficult, and those who don’t experience it think they know more than we do. Do not be deceived, however; God’s wisdom is infinitely superior (1 Cor 2:14, 3:18-19) and the Bible tells us that we really shouldn’t be shocked if others don’t care for us (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13).
Our Children’s Point of View
I would guess that any sort of single parenting arrangement must be confusing in some way to a child, because it is not God’s natural design and our human nature knows it. Recently, I’ve even had to face some tough questions from my own daughter about me and her mother. Regardless of how we got here, as fathers, we are still called by God to raise our kids in Christ and to prepare them for adulthood (Psalm 145:4, Prov 20:7). The world is not doing anyone a favor when it comes to this, so that makes consistency in our own lives that much more important. Children are masters at picking up on the unspoken and unseen atmosphere of a home, which is why we need to be aware of what sort of perception we are putting off. Use your time with them to get in some great one-on-one time and build a solid foundation of security, even if the whole situation may be anything but secure. Our kids need us to be there as their protectors and life leaders. A strong, authentic, and Christ-centered lifestyle will only be effective on them if we are truly walking that way and have found what it means to “be still”- even when all hell is breaking loose around us.
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