Scientists are beginning to verify what many of us have known for a long time: most dads make a positive difference in the lives of their kids.
Kids who grow up with a father who is present and engaged are less likely to drop out of school or wind up in jail. When a dad has a close relationship with his children, they tend to have higher IQs, have fewer psychological problems, avoid high-risk behaviors (such as sex at a young age), and grow up to have high-paying jobs and healthy relationships.
Dads also play a key role in the faith lives of their children.
According to a detailed study conducted several decades ago, a father’s church attendance has a much greater impact on the future attendance of his children than a mother’s attendance. The study found that, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s attendance, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper.
On the other hand, if a father does go to church regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular or irregular). Even if a father goes irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s attendance, between a half and two-thirds of their children will come to church, as least occasionally, as adults.
Appreciating Your Dad
But fathers often don’t hear how important they are to their children. Instead, TV shows and movies portray dads as superfluous or even bumbling idiots. Advertising campaigns accuse them of botching how they raise their children, especially their sons. And even Father’s Day sermons, with titles such as “Man Up!” chide them for not measuring up to the Biblical standard of a “good dad.”
A group that champions fatherhood and raises awareness that dads matter is the Fatherhood CoMission. The group’s Honor Your Father campaign is a nationwide collaborative effort to encourage every Christian to honor his or her dad, even if he is not involved in your life.
And even if he is no longer alive.
A key way to honor your father is to thank him, either publicly or privately. Two members of the Fatherhood CoMission board of directors—Dr. Clarence Shuler and Jeff Kemp—suggest seven reasons why you should thank your dad this Father’s Day:
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