I recently read a report on the “State of Biblical Fatherhood”. This report was based on a survey that Manhood Journey asked members of their online community to complete. The survey received responses from 274 fathers most of whom are Christians. Although this survey was not conducted as a scientific research endeavor it does offer some interesting insights into the minds and hearts of these Christian fathers. I find myself relating to these fathers and I think that many others will as well. The report identifies the three most common challenges that Christian fathers report as they navigate life as a father.
Challenge # 1 Dads feel like they are failures
44% of the fathers made comments that aligned with the theme of feeling like a failure. One participant stated,
“As a father struggling with this for over 4 months I feel like I have failed God as a Man, a Father, a Dad, a Husband and a leader of the family”
Wow! This is tough stuff no one wants to feel like a failure in all the major relational areas of life. It appears that Christian fathers are overwhelmed with the gravity of the role and do not feel equipped.
Challenge # 2 Dads want to be more intentional
42% of the Christian fathers surveyed made comments that fit under the theme of “I’d like to be more intentional”. These fathers struggled with issues like having enough energy after work to be engaged with their kids, marital problems, setting a good example, and battling outside influences.
One father said it like this,
“The decision between good-better-best is the dilemma. That is my SINGLE biggest challenge as a father right now.”
There are so many things calling for our attention and the attention of our families. Sports, music, culture, and friends are all calling for time and energy and in many instances these things are calling us away from worship and discipleship. Fathers are struggling to balance these demands and to be the one in the house that sets the limit and priority of Christ first.
Challenge # 3 Dads struggle with Disciplining and training
Although coming in a distant third, a significant number of Christian fathers (14%) identified disciplining and training as the biggest challenge they face as a father.
One participant remarked,
“Trying to raise them in a world of expectation and entitlement, I used to think it was just my kids but have realized it’s our world mentality…”
Our culture is saturated with material possessions and our families are bombarded with messages designed to create a sense of NEED in us. It can be incredibly difficult to set boundaries and expressions of discipline in this context.
Another participant stated it this way; “I have one child who has been a handful for years. He makes really poor decisions, but never owns up to it.”
I am so thankful for this report because it verbalizes experiences that I have had as a father myself. Not only that, many of the fathers I work with have expressed similar concerns and struggles. This report includes some helpful ideas on how to move forward if you are experiencing one of these challenges. Here they are:
- Admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness, frequently
- Stop trying to “be God” to your children, instead reflect His Character.
- Stop trying to compare yourself to the “perfect” dads around you, they’re a mirage.
- Learn how to say no.
- Shelve non-family-centric hobbies when the kids are young.
- Keep at it, and stop checking daily results.
- Get with other guys.
- Take advantage of great Christian parenting resources
- Parenting by the book John Rosemond)
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Ted Tripp)
If you would like to download a copy of the full report go HERE
What are your greatest struggles as a Father? Leave a comment below.