Moody Monthly published an interview with a young, successful attorney who said: “The greatest gift I ever received was when my dad gave me a small box one Christmas. Inside the box was a note that read, ‘Son, this year I will give you 365 hours—an hour every day after dinner. It’s yours. We’ll talk about what you want to talk about, we’ll go where you want to go, play what you want to play. It will be your hour!’ My dad not only kept his promise,” he said, “but every year he renewed it—and it’s the greatest gift I ever had in my life. I am the result of his time.”
This month, as we honor fathers and surrogate fathers, the gift of time is one of the most precious gifts a father can give to his children. Moms are there to birth, nurture and love their children, but there is no replacing, negating or displacing the significant benefits of a child growing up with the love, guidance and protection of a father. More than 20 documented studies confirm the positive impact that a father has on his children. Overall, these studies corroborate that fathers who take on active roles in parenting children reduce the frequency of behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in young women. They also validate that fathers have a positive effect on cognitive development, along with decreasing delinquency and economic disadvantage in low-income families.
While the research has been done to confirm the important role fathers play in their children’s lives, it’s not earth-shattering news. Many of us hold dear to our hearts, fond memories of time spent with our fathers—or those who stood in the gap for fathers— and the imprint they have left on our hearts and made in our lives. We don’t need anyone to quantify or qualify for us the sometimes unspoken bond that sons have for the men in their lives that they look up to—be it their biological fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or even coaches. We have all seen little girls grow up seeking husbands who mirror the characteristics they grew up admiring in the men they called dads.
Unfortunately—these days—if we were to believe everything we read or see in the media, our young African American boys are ALL growing up fatherless. And, while in every ethnic group there are some dads who, for whatever reason, are absent from their children’s lives, there are also even more tremendous dads; dads who not only stepped up, but sacrificed, prayed for and helped usher their children into adulthood successfully. This month, let’s celebrate and honor those fearless fathers with faith!
”Peace and power.
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,