Last month there were 23 kids arrested during three days of brawls at Southwind High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. A dad in the community, Mike LaFitte, saw a need and organized ‘Dads on Duty’- Forty dads volunteered to work shifts to ensure that several dads would be physically present at the school throughout the day. There have been no incidents since implementation of ‘Dads on Duty’. Several students commented that there was an immediate increased sense of safety with the dads present.
Mr. LaFitte was burdened with the status quo in his community and took it on himself to initiate action. In his BreakPoint podcast, John Stonestreet said, “They fist bump students in the hallways, providing a fathering gauntlet that is deterring fights and decreasing gang activity. … I love how these dads took stock of the cultural moment and acted on four simple questions: What good can we celebrate, what is missing that we can offer, what is broken that we can fix, and what evil needs to be opposed?” These are questions for every dad to contemplate in the home, at church and in the community.
And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” – Mark 8:34. Jesus’ cross was the nature of sin in man. By obeying His Father to the point of death, even death on a cross, His glory covers man today when one gets tangled up in sin and falls short of the glory of the Father. Thus, the call to take up your cross is a charge to identify and face head-on whatever it is that burdens you, your family, your church or your community. ‘Dads on Duty’ provide a great example of picking up the cross of trouble in the local high school. When a dad denies himself and takes up his cross, the Lord is with him and good things happen. Take stock of the cultural moment before you and take up your cross.
The icon for Faithful Fathering reflects this visually. The brown cross is the cross we are called to take up. For Faithful Fathering, it is the cross, or burden of dads growing in their walk as a father. Whether this is due to a tough home situation growing up or the pressures of life, the toll absent or passive fathers take on marriage relationships and the family are at the core of many societal woes. The golden cross above the brown cross is the cross of Christ. It reflects the glory of the risen Lord empowering dads to take up their cross in this world. Praise the Lord for ‘Dads on Duty’ and core groups of faithful fathers in churches taking up their cross.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and for Your example. Too often I get busy working in my own strength and walk past the moments You put before me, even in my own kids’ lives. Forgive me. Young people need dads to walk beside them in this world. Grant me strength and clarity to take stock of the cultural moments before me in the lives of kids in my home, the church and our community. Help me deny myself, take up my cross and glorify You on the journey. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father takes stock of the cultural moment before him and takes up his cross.