Good husbands and fathers need to be good leaders.
The breakdown of the American family is often attributed to the absence of fathers, but I would add to that cause the husbands/fathers who may be in the home but are not being good leaders.
In a time when fathers are so critical to the survival of families and yet so glaringly absent in so many, I would argue that our society needs to focus on fathers who either aren’t present or aren’t fulfilling their roles, whether they are in the home or not.
Certainly, the absence of fathers is significant. One of every four children (17.4 million) live without a father in the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), and the results are that those children are more likely to live in poverty, to become pregnant as teen-agers, to suffer from obesity, to drop out of school and to wind up in prison.
There are many fathers who are absent from the home but committed to being regularly involved in their children’s lives. But, conversely, there are also homes with weak fathers who are not living responsibly.
Statistics in the United States support the relationship between a healthy family and the presence of a responsible father, including improvement in academic performance and reduction of disciplinary problems among children.
Among findings in various studies: 1. Preschoolers with actively involved fathers have stronger verbal skills; 2. Children with actively involved fathers display fewer behavior problems in school; 3. Girls with strong relationships with their fathers do better in mathematics; 4. Boys with actively involved fathers tend to get better grades and perform better on achievement tests.
Research offers evidence that fathers’ involvement helps increase curiosity in their children and increases their problem-solving capacity and their self-control.
Those of us who follow the biblical imperative for placing the man in the role of family leadership do not believe the man should lord himself over his wife and children. Rather, the husband and his wife should share in all aspects of building their marriage, making a home and rearing a family. But leadership is key to making important decisions, guiding the family and maintaining the connection between spouses, children and their faith.
I believe wives and children want, need and expect leadership from men in all aspects of family life. That doesn’t mean wives don’t share in leadership. After all, they should share equally in the building of a life together and rearing of a stable family. I often trust my wife’s judgment more than mine, and therein is a big part of the strength of a man’s leadership: collaboration and cooperation.
And in the area of child-rearing, that collaboration and cooperation is essential. A father’s involvement requires self-disciplined leadership.
Sunday is Father’s Day. Maybe it would be a good time as a husband and/or father for we men to step up and commit to being better leaders.
Kerry Hubartt is editor of The News-Sentinel.