KIN STORIES | RESOURCES
Family: The Role of the Father
The important role of fathers in the family and the community can hardly be overemphasized. Regardless of the fact that many traditional familial norms are being questioned in our day – even uprooted – fathers remain an indisputably essential factor in the formation of a healthy society. In South Africa there is a growing need for exactly that – fathers who fulfill their role. We are fatherless nation.
Countless studies have shown the role that fathers play, firstly in the development of children, but also in the welfare of mothers. Children with fathers who are present are found to achieve better academically. According to Heartlines, “fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality”.
For Christians the role of the father takes on even more significance. Jesus taught his disciples to address God as “Our Father” and in 1 John 3:3 the apostle writes:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
KIN Culture aims at creating a community where children experience the role of fathers being actively fulfilled. God has adopted us, people who once were orphaned, and called us sons. Let us do the same.
God is the ultimate father and longs to embrace us as children. We should therefore recognize that a father is a child’s first experience of God. Fathers are one of God’s most overt representatives to in everyday society. They represent a crucial aspect of God’s relation to people – his fatherhood. He longs, like a good father, to give people identity, protection and provision. Our most basic understanding of these concepts is derived from knowing our (or at least an) earthly father. We are much more naturally capable of embracing God as ‘Father’, if we have living examples of fatherhood in our communities.
Statistically South Africa has one of the highest rates of father absence in the world. Only 38% of South African fathers live with their children (Statistics South Africa 2012). Many fathers are in jail or indifferent. For South Africans, it is important to understand that all men are fathers. Even men who do not have children have been found to play important roles in the lives of children. KIN Culture aims at creating a community where children experience the role of fathers being actively fulfilled. God has adopted us, people who once were orphaned, and called us sons. Let us do the same.
(Author: Otto Bam)