On Sunday, June 21, people all over the world will commemorate Father’s Day, a day set aside to honor men who have sacrificed to raise offspring. But, I often wonder about how children that don’t have fathers really feel. In the twenty-first century with our modern-day ideologies about responsible parenting, a lot of men fail to “father” their children. Not unlike males in the animal kingdom, they “hit that,” and go on to the next victim of unbridled passion and unprotected sex. Many men may never know the woman has conceived; and sadly, some women couldn’t identify their baby’s daddy without a paternity test! Anonymous absentee dads have become more the norm than the exception, far removed from the Biblical genealogies that recorded who begot whom with accuracy and aplomb.
While we honor those fathers that elected to honorably marry and rear children, my heart aches for children that don’t know their dads. That missing link can make the difference between a child that is self-assured and feels secure and one that fails to connect emotionally and spiritually to those that offer love. A mother or grandmother, uncle, cousin, or older brother can never replace a birth father’s love, given freely, self-sacrificially, and without reservation. Mothers are not meant to be both Mom and Dad. Grandparents are not meant to raise children when they ought to be retired and rocking in their favorite easy chair. As a people—saved or unsaved – we must stop the madness of childhood abandonment, emotional and physical abuse, and alienation absentee fatherhood causes. As responsible adults, we must begin teaching our children the Biblical way to become parents: waiting until marriage and waiting until maturity before bringing innocent babies into the world.
As saint and sinner alike, we need to become bold enough to tell our young men to pull their pants up instead of down and put their genitals “on ice,” before risking ruining another young girl’s life and saddling her with an infant they have no intention of helping to support. We need to take a stance against premarital sex and teen pregnancy and teach our young ladies that they are of much value – both in the sight of God and in society. We’ve got to tell our girls that teen pregnancy is not a play thing, boosting a baby on your hip is not cool, and a welfare check can never replace a college education and a chance at a better life. Parents need to demand more discipline at home; teachers must demand more respect at school; and the pulpit must demand and more importantly, demonstrate sound Biblically-based family lifestyles that young people will want to emulate.
Instead of babies having babies and children trying to rear children, we who do know the way cannot afford to turn away and bury our heads in the sand as if the problem doesn’t exist, or whisper behind closed doors when it’s someone else’s child that’s “in trouble.” As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once stated, “It takes a village to raise a child;” and we, especially Christians, are that village that God is calling for to help our future generation realize the importance overcoming the throes of puberty without pregnancy. It’s our job, it is our divine commission, and it is our utmost duty, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and clergymen to wage a serious and ongoing battle against teen parenting, absentee fatherhood, and premarital promiscuity. Can we do it? Yes, we can; and the challenge is before us. On June 21st, let us honor those who helped bring us into the world, for they are worthy of the sacrifices made and the unconditional love they shared. But let us not forget to teach, to admonish, and to exhort our young people to wait until they are fully mature, married, and mentally ready to become parents. I dare you to take the challenge, and have a Happy Father’s Day!
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