When Fathers Are Missing in Action: Facts About Fatherhood

I grew up without a father, never having seen him, heard his voice, saw a picture of him, never received a birthday card. As a father and now, grandfather, I see the importance of breaking this fatherless cycle. Some of my 3/4th grade Sunday school children don’t have daddies. They say, “I wish you were my daddy”. They make me cry. I love them unconditionally. The overwhelming conclusion is that the importance of fathers can not be underestimated.

Fatherhood Involvement = Less Drugs and Violence

One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self-esteem. In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior.

Hands on Fathers = Higher IQ

Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities. These children are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.

The influence of a father's involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. For instance, a 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly “A’s”.

Involved Fathers = Emotional Stability

Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.

Rough-housing Fathers = Emotional Control

The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child's emotional and social development. Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Rough-housing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.

I have one teen in my nest. When it empties, I will still have my grandchildren, but an empty nest is hard to adjust to. So, looking back, here is what fathers can mean, and even though I never had a father, I have always had my Heavenly Father, Who was with me all the time.

From calloused hands,

and sweat from much,

with babes in arms,

and velvet touch.


Up at dawn,

off to work,

grass is high,

he tames the lawn.


When car breaks down,

and flats are fixed,

he does his work,

his magic tricks.


Wrestle time,

dads arms so strong,

every children one,

now all gone


Face weather beat,

his hand not stayed,

hair turning white,

has gone to gray.


Tea cup parties,

and mud cake pies,

with princess gone,

the father cries.


What sacrifice,

all things thereof,

he gave his time,

a father’s love.

This makes Malachi 4:46 make so much more sense now. 

My advice as a father and grandfather: Tell your children and grandchildren that you love them, every single day. Show them love. Tell their mother that you love her every single day. Show her love. With children and grandchildren, more is caught than taught. Give them freedom to fail. Love them unconditionally. Never forget the five most important words you can ever say to your children. I love you and I’m sorry.

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  1. said:

    Just to show that dad’s not perfect, the scripture SHOULD read, Malachi 4:6 and says “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” I suppose dad’s getting a little forgetful too with age. LOL 🙂

    June 17, 2010

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