The Ultimate Father
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:4-8 NIV).
This describes action, not merely feeling. A father who employs these attributes cannot help but connect in a profound way with his children and propel them on their way to being responsible community citizens. Unfortunately, many fathers are not sufficiently immersed in their children’s lives to employ these attributes, and as a result, both fathers and children miss out. There can be a variety of reasons for this distance. Some men are a product of parents who believed children is the sole responsibility of mothers. Others are simply too concerned with their own needs.
However, those men who realize they are responsible for their children, and who invest the time it takes to connect with them, find their lives are greatly enriched by the experience. Pruett makes several suggestions to help men develop a strong connection with their children. He writes: “What I mean by fathering is ‘involved’ fathering. This is male behavior beyond insemination that promotes the well-being and healthy development of one’s child and family in active ways.” Je lists a few of the ‘everyday characteristics” of an involved father:
1. Feeling and behaving responsibly towards his child.
2. Being emotionally engaged.
3. Being physically accessible.
4. Providing material support to sustain the child’s need.
5. Exerting influence in child-rearing decisions.
Love involvement requires more than words. A father must be plugged in to the daily operation of his family so he can clearly see his children’s needs. It is increasingly evident that fathers can’t sit on the sidelines and let mothers parent alone. In his book The Hurried Child, child psychologist David Elkind refers to the family as “a school of human relations in which children learn how to live within a society”. A committed and nurturing mother and a positive, actively-involved father together form the backbone of a healthy family and the basis of a strong community. (Natural Health)