Today Is Friday
Today is Friday, what kind of plans do you have? Fathers, are you including your children in those plans? Are you a Friday Father? Let’s face it, for many busy dad’s on the go, Fridays are great! You may have plans to take the kids somewhere tonight, or Saturday or Sunday. Or, you just may be looking forward to some down time from all the busyness and hustle of your week. Whatever the case may be, include your children. Get them involved. Never be too tired for them.
As I prepare this Friday’s blog, I am reminded just how important it is to be involved with your children. There are many social and economical problems that America could solve if dads would just get involved with their kids. I’m not joking! Let’s look at some hard facts.
The Hard Facts
I. You Will Be A Father Someday
About 80% of the world’s men and boys will become fathers in their lifetime. Their actions throughout their children’s lives can have profound effects for the good! If you’re looking for a place to influence the current and future generations, this is where you start. Your children, your offspring are your mission field.
II. Fathers Matter
Father–child relationships, in all communities and at all stages of a child’s life, have profound and wide-ranging impacts on children that last a lifetime, whether these relationships are positive, negative, or lacking. Men’s participation as fathers and as caregivers also matters tremendously for women’s lives. And, it positively affects the lives of men themselves. Every person on the face of this earth has a sphere of influence. Just as other people influence you, you are influencing others as well. For a child, the father can influence every aspect of his or her life. Positively or negatively, you’re influencing your children.
Is this overwhelming? Just think about your own life and your quirks and convictions. How much of your life has been molded by your father’s influence, good or bad?
III. You Know A Child, Don’t You?
Virtually all men have some connection to children – as relatives, as teachers, as coaches, or simply as community members. Whether they are biological fathers, stepfathers, adoptive or foster fathers, or legal guardians; whether they are brothers, uncles, or grandfathers; and whether they live with their children or not, men’s participation in the daily care of others has a lasting influence on the lives of children, women, and men, and an enduring impact on the world around them.
IV. Rise Up Fathers!
The move toward more involved fatherhood and equitable caregiving must be supported as part of a wider agenda to challenge the structures and ideologies that restrict us all from developing as full human beings in a more just and equal society.
V. Get Involved
Involved fatherhood helps children thrive. I can tell you firsthand, my wife and I adopted three boys and it is obvious to see just how much they are thriving. As men take on more caregiving, research increasingly confirms that fathers’ involvement affects children in much the same ways that mothers’ involvement does. Fathers’ involvement has been linked to higher cognitive development and school achievement, better mental health for boys and girls, and lower rates of delinquency in sons. Studies in multiple countries have shown that fathers’ interaction is important for the development of empathy and social skills in sons and daughters.
VI. Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
Involved fatherhood makes men happier and healthier. Men who are involved in meaningful ways with their children report this relationship to be one of their most important sources of well-being and happiness. Studies find that fathers who report close, non-violent connections with their children live longer, have fewer mental or physical health problems, are less likely to abuse drugs, are more productive at work, and report being happier than fathers who do not report this connection with their children. Are you looking for a good preventive health care program? Be a good dad! Spend time with your kids!
Let me tell you, for the past six years, I have been the parent that puts the boys to bed. We have three boys, and we have a routine. But most importantly, they spend the last hour and a half of their day with daddy. They take their baths, get into their PJs, I get them in their beds and we talk for a few minutes. Then we pray, starting from the youngest through my oldest and then it’s my turn and suddenly…. there is silence as the boys ponder on daddy’s prayers and they fall asleep. What a blessing for them and for me.
Fathers, Do Something about it!
So, what are you waiting for? Fathers need to start getting more involved in their children’s lives. But how? First, you have to have the desire to do so. Unless you desire to be involved in your kids lives, all of this may not make much sense.I know that fathers want to spend more time with their children. Many fathers around the world say they want to be more involved. Data from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) show that most fathers (ranging from 61 percent in Croatia to 77 percent in Chile) report that they would work less if it meant that they could spend more time with their children. In the United States, one survey found that 46 percent of fathers said they were not spending enough time with their children, compared with 23 percent of mothers. The key issue here is that all of us can make time for those things that are important to us. Did you watch that football game last night? If football is important to you, you probably did. If you spent three hours watching the football game but only spent five minutes with your kids then somehow, your priorities are upside down. Rethink your priorities, schedule time for your kids and then you will reap the benefits of fatherhood.
Will you do it?
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Fathers, This is a Call to Action
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