Are fathers really that important?

Are fathers really that important?

My life experience, work experience and anecdotal evidence from speaking to adults and children raised in fatherless families all agree with the statistics, kids need their dads. But increasingly there is a feminist agenda that is trying to push back on these facts, by arguing that fathers and fatherhood is an outdated social construct and many others see that stating the need for fathers as an attack on single mums and the hard work that the majority of them put into raising their kids.

We are seeing it in the media with articles in like this from the Guardian and the Telegraph which deny that being fatherless is negative for children.

Man deserts? Tsunamis? Let's cut the crap about lone parenting

Does the UK have "men deserts”?

As well as mutterings in the media, there is also a United Nations report on Fathers that says;

The concept of fatherhood needs to be "dramatically readjusted" to bring it into line with the modern world,

And Professor Margaret O'Brien, a co-author of the report and co-director of the University of East Anglia's centre for research on the child and family says that

"Beyond insemination, fathering is fundamentally a social construction,”

So basically, what she is saying, is that man is only needed to make the baby, then his job is done! She is saying that the only reason we have dads is because historically, society thought that fathers were a good idea, but now times have changed, society no longer need dads.

Understanding peoples negative attitudes towards fathers

This statement shocked me when I first heard it and as a Christian father it should, but put yourself in the shoes of a Donna, a single mum who was abandoned by her partner and father of her children. Donna was also abandoned by her own father when she was a child and the majority of her friends are in the same position.

Lots of children like Donna are being raised in Men desserts-leading to kids growing up being mentored by peers. Kids teaching kids- boys growing disrespecting authority and disrespecting women and girls growing up disrespecting authority, men and themselves.

Peoples understanding of things usually comes from their experiences and if their only experiences of a father is an absent or abusive one, is it any wonder that people like Donna, think that  that men are only needed for insemination-for making babies then their job is done?

But regardless of what the UN report says and regardless of poor Donna’s experiences, all the evidence still shows that kids need dads. So why is this, why do absent fathers have such a negative effect on children and society?

God the Perfect example of Fatherhood

Francis Schaefer noted that even though Scripture starts with “in the beginning,” something was there before the beginning. John 1:1 speaks of what existed before Genesis 1:1, and John 17:24 clarifies, giving us the opportunity to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation between God the Son and God the Father. Jesus says, “Father . . . you  loved me before the creation of the world.” So before “in the beginning,” there was a loving Father. And before “in the beginning,”there was a real Son loving, adoring, praising, and enjoying a very real Father. Jesus, in John 17:5, says they also shared glory.

In response to this Glen Stanton wrote on the TGC website that

This is a mind-blowing and universe-shifting truth. It means that the universe is not a dark, empty, impersonal place. Just the opposite. At its core, it is an overwhelmingly warm, relational, personal place. This explains why broken and unhealthy relationships, loneliness, and abandonment are among the most painful of human experience.

Do we need fathers? Yes, we all need and long for Fathers and the reason things go so bad when they are absent from their childrens lives, is not because they are an outdated social construct…..but because God has set fatherhood at the centre of the universe, our minds and our hearts.

Author: Ian Williamson

Ian Williamson is a church planter and the pastor of New Life Church, Middlesbrough. Ian has lived and worked in the town his whole life and has been in full time Christian ministry since 2007.

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