Fathers matter: The importance of a fatherWritten by Danny Huerta
Have you ever wondered, “Do fathers matter? What differences do I make in my home as a dad?” Let’s begin with the simple answer – the importance of a father is tremendous! You make countless differences in your home and family. However, how much impact you decide to make as a dad is entirely up to you!
When was the last time you genuinely or playfully smiled at your children? When was the last time you gave your kids affirmation, correction, and reassurance? If you haven’t recently, do it now and see what happens. What did you notice? Did your child light up or smile back? Did your child respond and shift behaviours?
I vividly remember one day when my seven-year-old son and I were driving in the car together. He told me he no longer wanted to become like Michael Jordan – instead, my son said he wanted to become like me! What an honour and a helpful reminder that he is watching and learning from me along the way.
As a father, how I live my life has a long-lasting impact on my children’s lives. A father has a significant influence within a family’s interactions and experiences.
The importance of a father in creating essential momentum
If you love sports, science, stories, music or martial arts, you know about the word momentum. The universe, countries, culture, communities, families and people are all influenced by momentum.
As a dad, you bring essential momentum to your home. You bring a specific type of feel, action and movement to your home in all areas of life. The importance of a father can be seen physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and relationally in a family.
In more than two decades of providing counselling to families, I have gotten a close view into how a father’s actions impact their children’s lives. Although the life-giving power from a dad to his family is incredible and rarely discussed, God intentionally designed a father's impact.
Ways God designed the importance of a father
Here are a few ways that God designed dads to have a unique influence on their families:
- A father’s strength can be powerful
- A dad’s words can be fueling and inspirational
- Hugs from a dad can be deeply comforting
- A dad’s smiles can instill joy and confidence
- Time with a dad can be fun and productive
- A dad’s physicality can be challenging
- A dad’s guidance can be life-changing and foundational
- A father’s correction can be life-saving and life-giving
- Adventures with a dad can be exciting and memorable
Fathers are essential personnel
The key word in the previous list is “can.” A dad can bring many amazing things to their family. However, it initially requires realizing that you are essential personnel in your home as a dad.
You bring essential teaching, guidance, motivation, correction, love, and feedback. You can give these anywhere and with no limit in creative day-to-day ways. Your impact is foundational and long-lasting.
Researchers have found a variety of benefits stemming from a father’s use of an authoritative parenting style. This parenting style balances sensitivity and warmth with discipline and structure. Within an authoritative parenting style, a father’s children are less likely to have emotional and behavioural issues. His children are also more likely to do well socially, academically, relationally and developmentally when he balances high levels of both sensitivity and limits.
Other research also provides insight into the various and unique benefits a dad can bring into their home and children’s lives. The following examples describe studies demonstrating the potential results from a father’s positive effective parenting.
- A dad’s sensitivity early in a boy’s life leads to fewer behaviour issues later in the boy’s life.
- Unity in parenting between a mom and dad can result in more feelings of intimacy between a husband and wife, especially from a wife toward her husband. As a result, children have fewer emotional and behavioural issues.
- Sons who have a good relationship with their father tend to handle stress more effectively.
- Playing with fathers, including roughhousing, helps children develop self-control, problem-solving skills and self-regulation skills.
Small momentums lead to larger momentums
Your habits, shared experiences, and little things you do provide the larger momentums within you, your child and your family.
Imagine if you could pull back the curtain and peer into your life’s momentum. You might find yourself asking questions such as:
- Which triggers do I have?
- What would my family say I love?
- What emotions do I bring to my relationships with my wife and kids?
Let’s explore a few of the ways that momentum can positively affect your role as a father.
You can bring foundation and direction through consistent prayer and reading of scripture with your family. Tell your child why you love God.
You can bring awareness and resilience by being open to learning about and discussing the critical momentums created by emotions. Carefully listen to your child and teach him not to be allergic to emotions and feelings.
You can bring focus, confidence, strength, and pursuit through your words of affirmation. Teach your child the importance of guarding their thoughts since thought bubbles turn into behaviours.
You can bring closeness and steadfastness through your gentle love, service and presence. Gentleness is strength under control. Teach your child about the importance and foundations of humility.
You can bring relaxation, adventure, pursuit, strength, affection and activity to your family. Teach your child the benefits of being active and showing loving affection.
The best balance is working hard, playing hard, eating the right fuel for your body, and getting plenty of sleep. Perfection does not gain long-lasting love. Imperfections allow love to be genuine, deep, active and growing.
A father brings guidance, teaching and blessing
In Deuteronomy 6:5, God says to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and might. Love God with everything you’ve got. In the following two verses, Moses provides insight into the momentum that God’s love creates and the purposeful design created within parenting. Biblical parenting pairs instruction with the dedication to generate momentum within a child. This momentum can help them learn to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and might every day.
You have a lot to teach your children, depending on your passions, knowledge and experiences. Find some creative ways to teach your kids new things.
You can provide your kids with a word or prayer of blessing. You can use the insightful pieces of scripture below as a template for writing or praying a blessing for your children.
- Ephesians 1:16-20
- Numbers 6:24-26
- 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 16
- Ephesians 3:14-21
Keep in mind that you can make it simple or elaborate when you create the blessing with your child or children. The most important thing is that you write or pray a blessing over your children. A father’s blessing can create a sense of security, purpose, direction, and love. You help your children learn more about who God created them to be and their identity as a child of God through giving a blessing.
The importance of a father
Ultimately, a father’s gifts of quality time, life-giving words and positive actions have a long-lasting impact on a child’s relationships, development, beliefs and overall growth. As culture tries to say that dads are not critical in a child’s life, know that the importance of a father is far beyond measure! You can bring some amazing and foundational building blocks to your family! Bring it!
Danny Huerta is a licensed counsellor and the director of parenting and youth at Focus on the Family in the U.S.
© 2021 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at FocusOnTheFamily.com.
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