by Eric Metaxas
Most people define courage by extraordinary acts of heroism, but being a good father takes real courage.
When was the last time you saw the media portray a strong father, maybe even a Christian dad, in a positive light? You're far more likely to see dads shown as clueless, rigid, or the butt of constant jokes. The unspoken assumption in film, on TV, and in the culture, is that fathers are expendable. But statistics tell another story, and it's no laughing matter.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative: "Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.
"Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers." Being raised without a dad "raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree. There is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with both their mother and father."
And our old friend Chuck Colson saw the big difference that good fathers make. "Our prison systems are full of people who never had the example of a courageous father—or any father at all," Chuck said. "Over 70 percent of long-term prison inmates come from broken homes, and young men raised in fatherless households are at least twice as likely to be incarcerated as those from intact families."
So there's a lot of research showing that dads are absolutely indispensable. We get that. And yet, because of busyness, cultural pressures brought to bear on our kids, and other factors, even Christian dads struggle with being present and engaged with their families. Too often we dads struggle to lead in our homes and provide a godly example.
It's not that we're unwilling; some of us just don't know how to get started. Which is why I'm thrilled to tell you about a strategic new initiative to help dads across America on Father's Day weekend in June.
Last November, over sixty key fathering leaders, influencers and pastors came together at an event called The Fatherhood CoMission Summit in Rome, Georgia. They strategized and prayed about how to help churches assist fathers in their divinely ordained role.
What came out of this gathering was the "Courageous Dads Simulcast." This encouraging, fun, and instructive 90-minute program features quality speakers such as Dennis Rainey, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, comedian Michael Jr., and a host of pro athletes and recording artists.
The 90-minute simulcast will air Friday, June 14. There's still time for you to get your church or men's group—or even just yourself—signed up.
"Courageous Dads: Stepping up to Heroic Fatherhood" will engage, encourage, and edify those of us who are fathers; equip churches to champion the cause of fatherhood; and instill a vision for what Father's Day should be in our homes and churches. And it's not expensive, either. The Courageous Dads Simulcast is a joint ministry of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center, The Fatherhood Commission, Lifeway, Focus on the Family, the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference, and many more.Our kids, our families, our communities, and our nation need good dads, and the Courageous Dads Simulcast is a great way to encourage dads in your church and to engage your community with our Heavenly Father's love.
Eric Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org) that is broadcast on 400 stations with an audience of eight million.
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Reprinted with permission
BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries