When it comes to our children, we want to be the best we can be for them – as a mother, this intention is always at the front of my mind as I try to make interactions and daily life as helpful as possible for our children to feel loved and nurtured and ready for adulthood. My husband has frequently let me know it is also something he thinks of often. It’s important to him whether he’s doing things right – being a good father, and leading our older son towards developing true masculinity in a society that tries to feminize men & say that boys are the same as girls. Raising men is a task that needs a father, a good role model… certainly someone who is able to step in (when the father is absent) to mentor a young boy or man into finding his true identity of the man God created him to be.
This is not at all meant to be a slight to single mothers, that is hands down one of the hardest positions to be in, without a husband and father to your children & trying to manage everything (that takes two people) on your own. If you do find yourself in this position, however, one of the best and most wonderful gifts you can give your children is to either ensure they still have their relationship with their father and that he is allowed the most possible access in their lives (in cases of being divorced), or that they have another strong male role model (a grandfather, uncle, or even friend or coach) to look up to, and to mentor them later on.
In an excerpt from Dr. James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Boys, you can capture the unique role fathers must fill for their children, and especially their sons. It is the father who shows the son what kind of man he should become, and his example (for better or worse) will likely stay with the boy well until old age, and he will forever identify with either having a great father, or a father who he vowed to never be like.
(Four traditional roles that men have played at home.)
The first is to serve as the family provider. No one disputed fifty years ago that it was a man’s primary responsibility to be the “breadwinner.” This is less clear today, which is unfortunate. Even though the majority of wives and mothers work outside the home, it is still a man’s charge to assure that the financial needs of the family are met.
The second… is to serve as the leader of the clan. This role became highly controversial with the rise of the women’s movement, but it was rarely challenged before the 1960’s. It was often said in those days that “two captains sink a ship,” and “two cooks spoil the broth.” Dad was the final arbitrator on issues of substance Admittedly, this “headship” role was sometimes abused by selfish men who treated their wives with disrespect and their children like chattle, but that was never the way the assignment was intended to function. … (in Scripture) Husbands are told to love their wives as their own flesh, being willing to give their lives for them. They are also warned not to treat their children harshly or inconsiderately. That system generally worked well for thousands of years.
The third contribution made by a father is to serve as protector. He shielded his family members from the outside world and taught them how to cope with it successfully. He was the one family members came to when they felt anxious or threatened. If another man tried to abuse or insult his wife, Dad would defend her honor (even against extended family members). It was his responsibility to see that the house was safe at night and that the children were home at a reasonable time. Each member of the family felt a little more secure because he was there.
The fourth contribution made by an effective dad was to provide spiritual direction at home. Although he often failed in this role, it was his obligation to read the Scriptures to his children and to teach them the fundamentals of their faith. He was the interpreter of the family’s moral code and sacred rituals, and he made sure the children went to church every week. Admittedly, not many men in years past performed each of these four duties adequately. But there was a broad consensus in the culture that this was what they were supposed to do.
Sons need a strong, confident father to look up to and emulate – not a dad who is intimidated or “whipped” by his wife, or a man who fails to lead his family. He needs to be able to be a rock for his family to turn to in the midst of the hard times of life – sicknesses, financial woes, or job losses, the husband should be able to handle these life occurrences while still providing his family with the comfort and shelter of a peaceful home that he leads.
If you’re a woman reading this and you wonder if you’re hampering your husband’s God-given role as a strong father, you may be doing just that. It’s hard for women to give over the reigns of family leadership – to me, it goes back to biblical times. Eve’s curse (besides being cursed with pain in childbirth) was to want to control her man while at the same time, he would “rule over her.” Women have this innate desire to control our husbands, it is the most frustrating and damnable thing I personally have ever experienced. The sheer desire to wish that I could dictate how he will do things or how things should go can be very frustrating, and is a lesson in learning true Godly submission and showing respect to your husband. Men were designed by God to lead, and facing their own wive’s stubborn lack of respect for their authority in their own homes causes them the deepest kind of frustration (and eventually resentment) as well.
As a wife, I’ve continually found that when I step back and let my husband lead, he proves over and over again to be an amazing and sound head of our family. My oldest son and I trust him completely, while feeling the deepest kind of comfort, knowing well that we are safe under his watch.
We have a model of how God set up the family, and it’s amazing to see it play out in the way He intended so that children are raised in a healthy, God-intended environment.
It’s even better when you experience it firsthand. ❤