As a single mother, she knew she could not be a mother and a father to her teenage son. She focused on being a mom and called on a son-in-law and a brother-in-law to step in as father-figures in the young man’s life. They could do what she could not – teach him to be a man. Neither man was perfect but through faith and prayer she trusted the Heavenly Father to work through these men to guide her son into manhood.
Single parents have a tough row to hoe. They have half the time, half the energy and half of the whole dimension of relationship offered by a mom and a dad in the home. Single moms in particular are ten times more likely than two-parent households to have behavioral problems with their boys. This is largely due to the natural tendency for young men to push the independence envelope when a dad is not in the picture.
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. … Discipline your son and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. – Proverbs 29:15&17; Fathers, do no exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4. Raising sons is not easy even for engaged dads. You do not want to break that independent spirit but the young man cannot run through life unchecked either. It takes a dad and a mom to set the boundaries and establish effective discipline techniques. When Paul says to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, he is calling dads to spiritual leadership in the home. This may be a role unfamiliar to many men but it is a key dimension of faithful fathering. A good start includes: leading the family to church; leading the family in prayer at the dinner table and bedtime; and leading spiritual discussion in the home around the sermon preached or a Sunday school lesson that was taught.
The young man was blessed by the prayers his mother lifted daily and by his brother-in-law and uncle who stepped into his life during some critical years. Both men were spiritual fathers that helped fill a fathering void in the young man’s life. Faithful Fathering has focused on developing core groups of dads in the church that in turn encourage and equip men on the fathering journey to prioritize physical presence, be engaged emotionally and lead spiritually by example. In that light, I want to give a shout out to the Dads of Sagemont Church in Houston. They have not only orchestrated numerous events to engage dads and kids to new levels over the last eight years, several of the dads in the core group have reached out to young men beyond their immediate family and stepped into their lives as spiritual fathers. Intentionality on this front flows out of maturing core groups.
Prayer guide: My Father, thank You for bringing men into my life that were willing to commit time to help keep me between the lines of life. Thank You for Jesus the Christ who opened the door to relationship with You as my Heavenly Father. Through His death and resurrection, I am an heir of You and co-heir with Him. In the spirit of sonship I can cry out “ABBA, Father!” (Rom.8:15). With You as my Father there are no fathering voids in my life. Thank You Jesus. Amen.
A faithful father is a spiritual leader in the home and a spiritual father beyond.