The Driving Force That Is Dad

father-child-on-beach

A guitar playing friend and I were having a conversation about David Gilmour a while back. We were discussing how we both believe that, Pound for Pound, he’s one of the best lead guitarists ever – for playing with feeling. No one is as good as he is at putting emotion into his leads.

While thinking about this, it occurred to me that as good as David Gilmour is, he was not the primary driving force behind the success of the band Pink Floyd. One of the other prominent members of the band was Roger Waters. Roger played the bass, wrote most of the songs with David, and also sang many of the songs. I am not crazy about the sound of Roger’s voice but he writes good songs.

A lot of Roger’s writing motivation came from the loss of his father. There are references to it in his songs throughout his career. Roger’s dad was killed in Italy during World War II when Roger was only five months old. Sadly, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that Roger learned this. For most of his life, he only knew that his father was missing in action and presumed dead. When I listen to the song Wish You Were Here, I can hear Roger’s heart about not knowing what happened to his dad.

This caused me to wonder. Would the Band Pink Floyd have ever reached the status that they have achieved had this sadness not existed in the heart of one man?  The things that I identify with, and enjoy in their music are in part, because of the veiled references to this very thing.

The truth is that fathers matter. Even absent ones have a remarkable effect on their children. The ripple that’s caused by a missing father can be seen and felt over multiple generations. I see in some people, how the training they received from their father concerning money has affected how even their children think about money. The opposite can also be seen. Fatherlessness often results in families that struggle financially. I can see it in the lives of people I know. So many struggle when it comes to money, and it becomes a generational mindset that gets passed down. Fathers matter.

In his article Manifesto of the new Fatherhood, Stephen Marche wrote “Fatherlessness significantly affects suicide, incarceration risk, and mental health. The new fatherhood is not merely a lifestyle question. Fathers spending time with their children results in a better, healthier, more educated, more stable, less criminal world. Exposure to fathers is a public good.”

You may be a man who’s dad isn’t present very often anymore, and now you find yourself being a dad.  What do you do?  What’s the right thing to do?  Below are some important guidelines every father needs to follow.

  1. Show up. You can’t have any influence for good in your child’s life if you’re not there. I promise, there will be tons of negative stuff to take your place when you are not there. Many fathers don’t realize that it’s not just what you bring into the relationship that matters, it’s what stays away because you’re there.
  2. Teach what you know is right. The lasting solution is to raise our children God’s way. That means that we teach our children the right way, and we exemplify what it means in our own lives. By precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little & there a little (Isaiah 28:10). It’s important for you to teach what you know is right. Some things are too important to just leave them to find out for themselves.  If you’ve found some right answers in your life, some things that work, then it’s incumbent upon you to pass it down.
  3. Lead by example. It means that fathers need to discipline themselves to model the right behavior. Paul the Apostle also tells us in Ephesians 6 that we as fathers are not to provoke our children to wrath (anger) but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Scripture also tells us to train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. The next verse is also connected to it, the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
    To me, fatherhood is one of the most important things I do. I think it’s vitally important to not only teach my children the right things, but to also live the right things out in the open where my children can see me. I do not give myself permission to be sloppy in this area. These are my children, and in the end, I will be accountable to God for what I did and didn’t put into them.

Like Roger Waters used his pain to fuel his creativity, I use the pain that came from growing up without my dad to fuel my desire to help others who are enduring it now. There are just so many of us.

I say to all fathers that read this. You are more important than you may think. Your children are worth fighting for. Remember – Show up, teach what’s right & lead by example.

Until next week – be encouraged.

Art

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2 Responses to The Driving Force That Is Dad

  1. Mary Ruwe says:

    Good word, thanks.

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