The simple role of father is to give provision and protection for his family. But Fatherhood goes much deeper – developing the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and financial well-being of the child.
To do this, dads need to be present in their children’s lives. Yet so many children today around the world are growing up fatherless.
Christian men must rise up to take their roles as fathers seriously. And where we see gaps, we should step in to fill them. This may take many forms – fostering or adoption, mentoring, teaching, inspiring other men, and more.
How should we “father”? The best example we have is Father God. When Jesus was baptized, God demonstrated three principles of fatherhood:
- Identity: “This is my beloved Son”
Fathers give their sons identity. This isn’t simply a passing of a surname, but an intentional claiming of the child as a son or daughter, and speaking it publicly. This helps the children know from an early age who they are and that they are accepted.
- Affirmation: “with whom I am well pleased”
Fathers affirm their children. Verbal and emotional encouragement will build up confidence and character in young men and women. Everyone seeks affirmation, and will find it from sources good and bad. Positive affirmation from a father aligns our children on a good path in their journey of life, and requires consistently affirming them along the way.
- Touch: “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him”
Physical touch is critical for the development of any child. The positive, affirming touch on the shoulder, or hug from a father to a child demonstrates a commitment and love that words simply cannot express.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water,
and behold, the heavens were opened to him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
and behold, a voice from heaven said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
A beautiful example of this is Jason Wilson, the founder and head instructor of the Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy in Detroit. His purpose “is to teach, train and transform boys before the world does.” Using martial arts to develop boys physically and emotionally, his ministry focuses on spiritual warfare to overcome the challenges of young men today and prepare them for a successful future.
This video captures young Kaden’s initiation into the Academy. The final step is to have the son lay on his father’s back while the father does 10 pushups. This demonstrates the father’s love and commitment to the child. But for whatever reason, Kaden’s father is not there. Gathering “a village of fathers” who have influence in Kaden’s life, Mr. Wilson steps in to show this young man that he is not alone. Watch how these principles of Identity, Affirmation and Touch are used to tangibly show Kaden he has father figures in his life that will bear his burdens.
“You are not alone son…
We’ll affirm you.
We’ll build you up.
We’ll train you.
We’ll discipline you
and we’re going to be here for you.”
For the men reading this blog, my prayer is that this encourages you to reconsider how you are carrying the next generation on your own back, sharing in their suffering, lifting their burdens and lightening their load. If you know men who have risen to be fathers to the fatherless, lift them up and let them know they can count on you for support when their backs get weary. Relying on God for strength and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance, we can go beyond our abilities and change the lives of the fatherless in our midst.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”