The Importance of Fathers

The importance of fatherhood and fathers being involved in their son’s and daughter’s life cannot be underestimated. Anyone can father a child, but being a dad takes a lifetime. Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others. This role can have a large impact on a child and help shape him or her into the person they become.

Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self-confidence.

Fathers not only influence who we are inside, but how we have relationships with people as we grow. The way a father treats his child will influence what he or she looks for in other people. Friends, lovers, and spouses will all be chosen based on how the child perceived the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people.

Father’s impact on their daughters and sons while different than a mother’s impact (especially given she is the one that brings “Johnny” or “Susie “into the world, which is the greatest gift that  one can give through the grace of God and the love of their spouse) is still vitally important in the development of the young daughter or son and helps to complement what they receive from their mother.

Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating. If a father is strong and valiant, she will relate closely to men of the same character.

Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same.

When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world. Unfortunately, this can result in bad consequences if the ones they look up to and seek approval from have no moral upbringing and thus are not good role models.

A great resource for men on how to become better fathers is thru TMIY (This Man Is You) program that is offered to churches around the country. This is currently being offered at Holy Spirit and is advertised in the church bulletin. The next session will begin this fall. Men meet on Saturday mornings. Please watch the bulletin for more details this fall.

This Father’s Day please give thanks to all the fathers that have done so much for you and others. Also, in this being the year of St. Joseph, our “Spiritual Father,” please do not forget to thank him for the many blessings he has provided to all of us, as well as to remember he is there in helping us with our families. We only need to pray to him and asking for his guidance and wisdom as we strive to be better fathers and better spouses.