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My challenge to men

Saturday, September 24, 2011, 6:14 am |

If you’ve been tracking with SaveCalifornia.com lately, you know we’re calling September “Courageous Dads Month.” This matters to you and everyone you know who has children or grandchildren.

Why isn’t it enough to celebrate Fathers Day in June? Too many times, most families “do” this Hallmark holiday where dad gets appreciated for a part of a day. But this is a much more serious subject than that. There is a fatherhood crisis in America and millions of children are falling into moral ruin every year because of it. Yes, a lot of damage comes from fathers who aren’t there. But also blowing it are men who feel emasculated who’ve never been shown by their own dads or otherwise learned how to be a courageous, principled shepherd of their children.

It’s time to do a 180. There’s a fatherhood crisis and there’s a fatherhood solution. The #1 family need in America is Godly fathers. If most families were headed by Godly fathers, all the social ills would significantly decrease. Most children would want to be good. Most wives would be supportive, not argumentative. Most families would thrive, not break apart.

Every father needs to stop and consider his God-given purpose. I’ve been reading the book, “Resolution for Men,” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the writers, producer and director of the excellent Christian-values film, “Courageous,” which is in theaters September 30.

After seeing a screening of Courageous, I can tell you this is more than just a good movie. It’s a bold and clear movement for everyone who desires to be a good dad (and a good wife who supports her man’s moral leadership). Here’s how you can participate:


1. Take our Courageous Challenge
a. See the trailer
b. Find a theater
c. Encourage your friends to see it

2. Enjoy the behind-the-scenes interviews demonstrating the Godly heart of COURAGEOUS

3. Dads: Desire to be a Godly father and share your desire with other men to stir them. Wives: Stand by your man and encourage him. Pastors: Teach these redemptive principles to men in your congregation. See these life-changing resources

4. Fathers, read this excerpt from “Resolution for Men”:

As the God-ordained leader of your home, the primary responsibility for the training and rearing of children is also on the shoulders of their father. Not your wife, the school system, or even your church. It’s on YOU. That doesn’t mean our wife is not actively a part of the process, but it does mean that the greater responsibility is yours.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament commission dads specifically to train up their kids. Fathers are instructed to teach, discipline, and lead their children toward spiritual maturity and success in life. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses told the men in leadership over Israel to teach their children throughout the day so that they and their grandchildren would learn to love, fear, and obey God.

When issues of child rearing came up in the church, the apostle Paul directed his message to men, and said, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4 NASB). If your kids are floundering, rebelling, or falling apart, then it is happening under your watch, and now is the time to make whatever changes you need to make so that you can step up and turn them around. Even if your kids are grown and gone, it’s never too late to reach out to them and become a positive influence for good by praying, encouraging, counseling, and cheering them on. Until a father dies, he still has powerful influence as a father and grandfather and should remain an active one.

We are not trying to load men down with guilt. Our goal is to help you step up so you can win in the long-term. We understand that sometimes divorce or rebellion in children is not always a man’s fault. But if he has been passive or disconnected at different times over the years, then he is unknowingly more of the cause that he realizes. Problems always follow when a leader allows a relational or directional vacuum. But regardless of the past, a good leader does not spend his time playing the blame game; instead, he gets immediately engaged, leading with purpose, dealing with problems, and then doing everything possible to prevent them from ever happening again. That’s what we are challenging you to do. Starting today, the phrase, “Not on my watch!” needs to be permanently engrained into your mind-set. It is time to start where you are and go forward as fast as you can.

Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Prov. 17:6 NKJV), this reveals an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.

Modern research is proving that newborn babies and growing children need an emotional connection and ongoing affection from both a female and male parent. A father is so much more than merely another parent. God has enabled him to provide a unique type of direction, protection, and affirmation that a mom cannot provide alone.

When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. If dads don’t teach their kids the truth, then the world will teach them a lie. One of the key roles of a father, biblically speaking, is to help establish and reinforce the identity of his children. Kids will naturally go to their dads for answers to life’s questions. Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life?

Kids who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to drug use and criminal behavior. When a son or daughter has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you in life and be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever.

It’s also a dad’s job to prepare and help his children to win in life and not have to learn lessons the hard way. Research indicates that one of the strongest predictors of a child’s performance in education is the involvement of the father. The future success of each new generation is directly affected by the success of fatherhood in the previous generation. The higher priorities and deeper lessons of life are constantly being taught and reinforced by the words and actions of a father. If he is not there, kids will be walking through the most important decisions of life without the person who should be loving and leading them the most.

When a little girl looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure – and are much less likely to have eating disorders, identity issues, and become sexually active in their teen years. But millions of teenage girls auction away their priceless virginity every year for a pizza, a movie, and some on-the-spot flattery. Each of them hopes that somehow being held for a few minutes by a porn-addicted teenage boy with raging hormones will fill the dark canyon of love that her disengaged father has left aching inside her heart. And it never does.

“And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
Malachi 4:6 NKJV

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