Fathers are very important in the family unit. All over the world, in every culture and society, the father’s role is recognized as pivotal to the success of the family. Yes, there are many families without a father, who still manage to survive and thrive. However, the ideal is a strong father who loves, provides, protects and guides. Mothers can’t play the role of fathers, even though they try their best when none is around. Fathers are key to the completeness and wholeness of a family.

In our modern and evolving society, the current experience is that majority of fathers are absent from the family. Some are physically absent, even though they provide money for the family. Some are emotionally absent. Some are just physically present but provide no protection or resources. In short, fatherhood has been under attack in our modern society. Children and mothers are worse off for it. The absence of fathers has become endemic in our cities. In modern cities, fathers go out to work very early and come back very late. The wives don’t see them. Neither do the children. A common excuse is that they have gone to provide for the family. But what do they provide? Money, which is just one aspect of providing. What about the love and the protection? What about security? What about guidance? All this is absent. Money is expected to fill all gaps, but it doesn’t.

My earthly father died over ten years ago. When he was with us, he did his very best to love, provide and guide us. We were very sorry to see him go at a ripe old age. I am comforted today, because I have a father still! My heavenly Father!

I have a Father who tells me that I shouldn’t worry about what I will eat and what I will drink and what I will wear. He tells me that it is unbelievers who worry about such. Why? My Father, who takes care of the lilies of the field and of the birds of the air, He will provide for me. I am precious to Him, of more value than many sparrows. He considers me precious. I don’t have to worry. He’s got me covered. Not only for my immediate needs, but also for needs that I don’t even know yet. He has my future covered completely. In fact, according to Him, my future is in His past, because He already took care of it before I was born. He already numbered my days. Everything happening to me now is not a surprise to Him. He already planned it out. He knows the end of it from the beginning.

What a joy to have such a Father. He is very present. Very protective. Very proactive. He guides me with His eyes. He has good thoughts concerning me. He executes His will for me and leads me in the way I should go. What a loving Father He is! His love is unconditional, total and enduring. His love for me never wanes and never fails. He loves me with an everlasting love.

What do our fathers need to do today? They need to wake up to the needs of their families. Forget about providing only money. Your family need your love, your care, your protection, your guidance. They need your reassurance. They need to be able to lean on you. They can’t do that when you’re not there. And they can’t lean on money.

I am aware of the daily challenges of working in the city or working a demanding job. However, if your family is important to you, you will find time in the midst of that harrying schedule, to love them and to be with them. It is when you are with them that they can share their troubles with you, bare their minds, and unburden their worries. Yes, you are not God. But you are the father that they can touch and feel, in the place of God. Not to be worshiped, but to be loved, to be connected to.

And fathers, when you are home, park the burdens and harassment of work at the doorstep, before you get in. Once you are home, those work issues must be forgotten. Give your family your best. Give them your attention. Love them. Don’t bite their heads off. Don’t take out on them the problems at work or the anger against a wicked boss. Don’t make them feel that you’re slaving because of them, even if that is true. Park it. Let the home be peaceful and loving. Be a good father to your family. Give willingly. Give sacrificially. God gave His only Son for us, willingly, even when we didn’t deserve Him or know any better. (Not that we could ever deserve Him.) But He did it because He loves us. He doesn’t beat us up over that sacrifice. He gave willingly and lovingly. As human beings, we are not perfect, but remember this is the family that God has given you to look after. They depend on you and look up to you. Love them. Feed them. Look after them. Your actions will direct them to a heavenly Father who loves them even more than you do.

When fathers are harsh, absent or irresponsible, it makes it more difficult for children to look up to or trust a heavenly Father. If the father they see is brutal, judgmental and punishing, how can they love the One that they cannot see? How can they believe in a heavenly Father when they have not known the love of an earthly father?

At the end of it all, when work is ended and done with, it is to your family you will return. What will you expect to reap then? Anger and malice? Or love and care? We will definitely reap what we have sown.

It’s not too late to change though. Love always beckons. We can choose to appraise our past behavior and move away from it. Love heals. A family that was previously harshly treated can respond to love, over time. While there’s life, there’s hope. Work at it. Bring back love to the family. Ask for God to help you. He is the best Father there is and He will show you how to be a good father.