The following blog post is an edited version of Father Ken Anthony’s sermon delivered on Father’s Day 2014.
If there’s anything in shortage today it is real fathers that take responsibility for their actions and take care of the financial, spiritual, emotional well being of their homes. Real fathers serve God; real fathers are men of action; real fathers prepare their children for adulthood; real fathers take responsibility, and real fathers are reliable. Today I’m going to talk about six attributes of good and godly fathers using the acronym F-A-T-H-E-R.
Key Attributes of A Good Father
The “F” in father stands for Faithful – Good Fathers are Faithful
Good fathers are faithful people. They are first faithful to God and trust God with their whole heart, soul, and mind. Good fathers believe in God’s promises, that God will preserve their families, and that our good Lord will provide their families everything needed for salvation.
Good fathers accept their role as the spiritual head of the household and set the tone for family worship. Good fathers know God’s word; they have an active prayer life, attend church regularly with their families, and obey God’s commandments.
The Bible lifts up the examples of several faithful fathers: St. Joseph – Jesus’ earthly father was faithful because he trusted the angel when he learned that his fiancé, the Virgin Mary was going to give birth to Jesus. He also faithfully moved his family to Egypt when the angel warned him in a dream.
Abraham faithfully believed in God’s promise that his wife Sarah would bear a son at over ninety years of age and he would be the father of a great nation.
The “A” in father stands for Action – Good Fathers are People of Action
Most dads like to watch their sports on television; some have a few hobbies, and engage in some “down time” to relax. Despite occasional laziness, good fathers are men of action, especially when their families need them. Good fathers just don’t sit there, they spring into action when: The toilets overflow, the garbage disposal breaks, or when something important around the house that needs fixing. Good dads know how to get things done; they solve problems, and always rise to the occasion.
Good fathers also instill a good work ethic in their children and teach by example. Children need to see hardworking fathers and good fathers challenge their children to learn through activity. Good fathers watch over their children and give them the spaces they need to try new things learn from the mistakes they make. Good fathers are active and engaged parents.
The “T” in father stands for Teacher – Good Fathers are Teachers
Good fathers are teachers and prepare their children to enter adulthood and face the tough world around them. This means that fathers give their children survival skills that will help transform them into successful adults. Unfortunately, most children do not listen to the advice of their fathers. In order to be good teachers, fathers must be credible and earn their children’s trust and love.
Ephesians 6:4 states: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Here St. Paul is cautioning fathers not to criticize their children, but instead focus on teaching them with the same love and understanding that our Lord used when teaching the disciples.
The “H” in father stands for Hope – Good Fathers offer Hope to their Families
Good fathers are a source of hope and inspiration for their families. Dads are the family’s pillar of strength and they are the ones that tell us that things will be all right when tough times are around the corner. Even though dads complain, good fathers are optimistic and resilient because they trust God.
Good fathers also trust their children and constantly encourage them to pursue their passions, fulfill their dreams, and plan for their future. Clare Boothe Luce once said, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.” In contrast, good fathers are as the Father found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son; good fathers are forever hopeful and inspire their families to push beyond themselves.
The “E” in father stands for Example – Good Fathers are a positive Example
Good impressions are important and good fathers are positive role models to their families. Children tend to imitate and adopt their parent’s behaviors; therefore, fathers must be good husbands, live moral lives, and treat all people with respect and dignity.
As the home’s spiritual leader, good fathers take an active part in their children’s spiritual development. While mothers spend more time with the children in a traditional home, the importance of the father’s role cannot be underestimated and St. Paul’s advice to the Corinthian Church holds true in I Corinthians 11:1.”Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” The most important example that father can make to his children is to love others.
Finally, the “R” in father stands for Reliable – Good Fathers are Reliable
Good fathers are reliable, responsible, and consistent. They work hard to “bring home the bacon” and provide for their family’s needs. Good fathers are also helpful in times of crisis.
Sadly, many men today are not consistent in their fatherly duties and neglect to see the importance of their role as a father themselves. Fathers need to be reinstated to the level of importance that God intended for them! American morality and spiritual integrity is at an all time low because of the declining value placed on the role of the father in today’s society.
Children need attentive and reliable fathers to be their role models. Newspaper columnist Abigail Van Buren wrote, “If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Responsibility isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing. Booker T. Washington said, “Few things help an individual more that to place responsibility upon him and to let him know that you trust him.”
Yet, in order for children to grow up into responsible adults they need a stable and reliable role models. Good fathers are consistent in how they meet life’s challenges. Irresponsible people run away from problems, unreliable fathers make excuses for their inconsistent conduct, and never lead a life of integrity. Good fathers are of proven character, they are faithful to their calling, and are reliable to those that need them.
A father’s influence is paramount to a child’s development into a happy, well-adjusted, productive adult. Fatherhood is not motherhood; however, it is an active rather than passive activity. Good fathers are involved in their children’s lives looks out for their best interests. Dads have to make hard choices and realize that popular decisions are not always the best decisions. Good fathers are able discern and develop their children’s hearts, souls, and minds.