Post Author: Bill Pratt
A couple of months ago I read a blog post written by J. Warner Wallace about the importance of fathers that struck a nerve in me. I had a good father while I grew up (still do), and I have tried to be a good father for my kids, but I see too many examples around me of fathers who are absent, or who are around, but don’t seem to engage at all with their children.
Wallace worked as a Gang Detail officer in the early 90’s and listen to what he saw:
Our city was culturally and ethnically diverse, and we had a gang problem that seemed to transcend ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries. We had wealthy Korean gangsters, middle class white gangsters, and upper, middle class and lower class Hispanic and African-American gangsters.
Wallace wondered what the common denominator was that drove kids from so many different backgrounds into gangs. Here is his answer:
Many of the white gangsters had fathers that were uninvolved, alcoholic or “deadbeat” dads. Many of the Korean fathers were first generation Koreans who never learned the English language, started businesses in our community and worked so hard that they had absolutely no relationship with their sons.
Some of the Hispanic fathers were incarcerated and most of our Hispanic gangsters came from a multi-generational gang culture. Many of the African-American gangsters told me that they never even knew their father; they had been raised by mothers and grandmothers without their biological dads.
Over and over again I saw the same thing: young men who were wandering without direction or moral compass, in large part because they didn’t have a father at home to teach them. Many studies have confirmed my own anecdotal observations.
Wallace’s advice to Christian fathers: teach your children. Citing Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Wallace says the following:
This is the role and duty of fathers; to teach our kids to embrace the image of God in which they were created. So today, . . . I would like all of the fathers who read this post to recognize their debt to their own fathers. If your father was absent, be grateful that you have a chance to do what he never did. Be a dad. Start teaching your kids. Take the words of Dr. Tony Evans to heart:
“It is a fool who says. ‘I do not tell my children what to believe’, because if you don’t, someone else will. The drug addicts are commanding your children and your children are obeying. The lust mongers are commanding your daughters and your daughters are obeying. For God’s sake YOU command something!”
There is some solid advice.