Bouncing around social media you’ll find all these blogs, videos, and memes encouraging moms, “You are doing great! Give yourself grace. Keep doing the hard stuff. You are amazing.” Etc. Etc. And then we dismiss or ignore the dads. Or worse yet, we applaud the moms and then beat fathers over the head, “You aren’t doing enough! You are a lazy bum.” No wonder so many dads feel defeated. But, they have more power and influence than they realize.
A study done by the Swiss government (published in 2000) showed that “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.”
If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.
If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church!
What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Amazingly, the percentage of children becoming regular goes up from 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and up to 44 percent with the non-practicing. This suggests that loyalty to the father’s commitment grows in response to the mother’s laxity or indifference to religion.
It is the father who is essential for sending his children forth with a biblical view of reality and a faith in Jesus Christ that is rooted in solid understanding. (taken from here).
Now, two thoughts come to mind: first off, I want to scream, “What in the world!” I’m doing all this discipleship and teaching biblical studies, and statistically, my efforts hardly make a dent. But, what my husband does and says impacts our kids far more. On the one hand, I feel a little frustration, but on the other hand, I can exhale too. Because my husband is consistent. He is diligent in His commitment to the Lord and to the Body of believers. He prays with our kids and reads them Bible stories and takes teachable moments to encourage them in a Christian worldview.
I’m not great at affirming my family, but I am thankful for the intentional efforts my husband puts into teaching our kids. He truly is a good father.
If you don’t have a husband who steps up as the spiritual leader of the home, I’d encourage you to do three things.
Don’t preach or nag. If he isn’t doing everything you’d like him to do, start praying for him to be the leader of your home that God equipped him to be. Let the Holy Spirit do the work. Your guilt trip will not be the motivating factor of change in his heart.
Be sure you are setting an example. And not in a haughty or prideful way. (I Peter 3:1). Be reverent, pure, submissive, and honoring (Are you listening, Kristin?). Show him respect, even if you don’t always feel it.
Continue to pray with your children. Yes, you want the truth coming from both of you, but you do what you can to shine a light on your children’s path. Don’t give up. God isn’t finished with your family.
Deut. 11:18-19, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”