As father’s day approaches this weekend, it is imperative that we reflect on what it truly means to be a father. Yes, the literal definition of the word is “A man in literal relation to his child or children” and it is through that relation that many of you will identify yourself or others as a father. But to really get at the heart of the term, we must then ask how we identify what that relationship is.
Many will define being the biological dad defines that relationship. He is the one who passed his seed onto the mother and begot a son. And though his relation is defined by blood, this does not qualify him as a father on that basis alone. No one would argue that the man was the “dad”, but to praise him for merely being the vehicle to transmit life isn’t enough to bestow the title of father.
When we use the term “father,” we look to the Bible for wisdom and enlightenment on the subject. According to Corinthians 7: 1-5, anyone who considers themselves a father must be a husband first. He must cherish what we call the mother (another misunderstood term rich for it’s own article) with respect and love. Through the relationship can the foundation be built for a child to be reared. Now, the question should arise, that what then should a single male parent do? Even without a “relationship” with the mother, a father should treat all humans as if they were mothers, with respect, love, and compassion.
To go further, according to Ephesians 6:4, a father should “bring [children] up in the training and admonition of the Lord”. Thus, a father should be a role model for the child. Therefore, how can a father be a light for a child if he cannot himself be a good husband?
In being a role model, a father should not provoke their children to wrath (Colossians 3:21). A father should never purposely make a child angry, scornful, resentful, discouraged, nor bitter. A father should be stern, but not angry. He should guide his child with firmness but not hatred. This does not then encourage a father to punish a child, though a child made need positive reinforcement. A child must be correct, but not indoctrinated.
Often a dad is hostile, or absent from a child’s life. He may be too occupied with work or personal goals and lifestyles. All of these instances harm a child and do no good for a family. To put simply, a father must be there for his child.
It is only through these teachings that a “dad” can then become a father. It is a title reserved for a leader of a child, and does not have to be bound by physical connection. Through a father, a child is in raised with balance and love, and can become a mature and responsible adult. There are many dads in the world, but not enough fathers. It is our duty as men to take on this role and guide our children.