Did you know studies show that families who eat meals together regularly have children who are better students who are more likely to be engaged in school activities, and less likely to get into trouble, smoke, drink or do drugs? I was recently told by a retired educator that a study revealed regular family meals were found to be important to the success of National Merit Scholarship winners. These findings are true, especially if dad is at the table, too!
The majority of men in prisons grew up without a father.
Studies also show that fatherless children are more likely to be violent, abusive, and have criminal tendencies.
Children with a father who commits violence, abuse and crimes are more likely to commit criminal acts, too.
The impact of the father is especially important when it comes to raising men of faith.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
A study in Switzerland showed that if the father attends church regularly, 2/3-3/4 of the children are likely attend regularly as adults, regardless of the involvement of the mother.
If the father attends church irregularly, or occasionally, 1/2-2/3 of the children can be expected to also attend occasionally, regardless of the devotion of the mother.
If the mother is a faithful woman who attends church regularly and is active in church, but the father does not go to church, only one child in 50 is expected to become a regular churchgoer in his/her adult years.
If neither parent goes to church, there is only a 4% chance that the children will someday go to church, meaning 96 out of 100 will most likely never go to church.
According to a Barna study, of those surveyed, the majority of American moms raising children ages 0-18 years said that family is their top priority and faith is an important part of parenting. Majority of dads also said family was top priority, but not many felt faith was important part of parenting. With fathers having the greatest impact on the future of our children’s faith, that is a disparaging revelation.
Of moms 42+ raising children 0-18 years of age, the majority are married.
Of moms ages 23-41, about half are married.
Only 1 in 4 of moms ages 18-22 are married, which means 3 0f 4 children are growing up with a single mom, most of whom do not have the children’s fathers in their lives. These children are off to a rough start with statistics indicating that they will likely be violent, abusive, and commit crimes if a father or father-figure does not come into their lives Their chances of becoming men and women of faith are next to nothing.
Women, do not be discouraged. Moms are still seen as being the primary caregivers and nurturers, and I know many awesome mothers who defy these statistics by intentionally raising their children in a Christian environment, active in church. They are raising impressive kids who are good students, fine people, and loving children of faith. Women who have faithful husbands need to support and encourage them!
My father, grandfathers, and close uncles were faithful men, for which I am grateful! However, it was my grandmothers who had significant impact on my faith and beliefs, so women, please don’t feel your influence doesn’t also matter, because it does. 🙂
Nevertheless, multiple studies about families, parenting, and the futures of our children indicate the choices the father makes has a much greater impact on children than those of the mother. Statistics improved when dad’s favorable decisions were supported by the mother, and when Mom and Dad showed love and respect for each other.
The Bible says to take care of widows and orphans, the fatherless among us. As the church we need to find ways to support fatherless children and those raising them, and encourage young people to be responsible in their relationships, and help them see the importance of 2-parent families. We also need to help couples respect the sanctity of marriage and Biblically help them work through their problems when marital issues arise.
Most importantly, we need to remember and share the examples set by our Heavenly Father. He taught us that He is loving, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. He is a Father who says what He means, and means what He says. He keeps His word. When necessary, the Father convicts and disciplines, but is just in His ways, not overbearing. Through Jesus, the Father taught us what true Love is, being a Father who made sacrifices for the wellbeing of His children, and instructed us to hate evil – not people; remembering that His goodness and grace are not something any of us can earn, for we have all sinned, but that He makes available to ALL His children who live by faith and obey His commands.
The more we try to live as godly men and women who find ways to share the love and saving grace of Jesus, the Christ, our Savior and Lord; the more God can work through us to make a difference in the lives of those around us, especially when it comes to parenting and raising the next generation of Christian boys and girls.
Fathers, remember, the choices you make and the way you live your lives have a tremendous impact on the little ones watching you. Mothers, we are important, too! We need to live faithful lives, support husbands of faith, and encourage younger generations to join us in our walk of faith.
What are we doing today? How will our choices and actions impact the children of tomorrow?
To learn more about God as our Father, and teachings of Jesus, go to http://www.BibleGateway.com
The Barna Group
Justin Taylor A Father’s Role in His Children Going to Church When They are Adults – referencing Robbie Lowe (vicar of St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath, a parish in the Church of England) and the 1994 Swiss study about the impact parents have on the future faith of their children (Touchstone, June 2003)