The Father’s Mandate: Family Identity

11 Jun

happy family on carpetThere is no doubt about the importance of fathers. When a father is actively involved with his children, he positively influences every area of their lives. Children need their dads! In this series, we’ll be sharing a little of The Father’s Mandate from the Growing Kids God’s Way course (a Growing Families International curriculum) and highlighting some of the essential roles that dads play in the family unit.

Role #1: Family Identity

Family ties should not be optional. In an ideal world, every child would know that they were put into their family for a purpose; that they have a role to play; that they are loved and cherished; and that their family is committed to them. Ever family would have a standard of values and morals to live up to; and every member of that family would hold each other mutually accountable. A family would be a team. Every team needs a leader; and that leader would be Dad.

Did you know that “husband” literally means “house-holder”? It’s not surprising then that a father holds so much responsibility when it comes to being the family leader. This can’t be taken lightly. If a father is absent or too busy to focus attention on his family, outside influences will shape the children’s idea of what a family looks like. As entertaining and light-hearted as they may be, popular TV shows like The Simpsons or Modern Family often shows dads to be silly, irresponsible and unable to cope with the children on their own. They may be likeable, but they don’t command respect and their children don’t trust them.

To quote Gary Ezzo, “the quantity and quality of trust children have in us, as fathers, is a legitimate benchmark of our relationship with them. Do your children trust you to provide them simply with sustenance, facts, and judgments, or do they trust you as a person?” (pg. 71, Growing Kids God’s Way).

 Studies have found that children who feel connected to their parents and siblings have fewer problems with temptation and peer pressure. When dads are actively involved, their children are more confident. They have a higher self-esteem, are more sociable, compassionate and empathetic. They reach independence easier and deal with frustration better. Boys are less aggressive and adolescent girls are less likely to engage in sexual activity.

So how does a dad actually build a family identity? Fathers need to verbalise their excitement and pleasure with their family.  Saying things like, “This is a great family” or “I am so thankful that God put us all together” and “You kids have such a great mom” have a remarkable impact on a child’s perception. Dads need to give their children a clear picture of the purpose of their family. Make sure your children understand the values and morals that they are expected to live up to. Let them know exactly what roles they play in the family. When Dad is excited and encouraged about his family, the children tend to feel the same way. But when Dad is absent or silent, they will inevitably ask the question, “Does he really care about us?”

Who is shaping your family’s identity?

 

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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One Response to “The Father’s Mandate: Family Identity”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Father’s Mandate: Fathers You Are Needed! « babyguardian blog - June 27, 2012

    […] Create a family identity […]

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