Florida resident and Hall-of-fame NFL coach Tony Dungy have come under fire for comments he recently made at a press conference promoting fatherhood.
Various speakers at the press conference spoke about the consequences of growing up without a father. When Dungy spoke he recalled a visit to prison with Abe Brown and seeing 19, 20, and 21-year-old kids. “How do those young boys get here?” Dungy asked Brown.
‘It’s not socioeconomic, it’s not racial, it’s not education, it’s none of that,” Brown replied. “Ninety-five percent of these boys did not grow up with their dad.”
For that Dungy has been criticized in some circles. Mediate.com contributor, Juwan Homes, tweeted that Dungy “lives in a fantasy land.” He connected this idea with Dungy’s political views and dismissed his ideas as “a myth.”
Another critic, Exavier Pope, an attorney, who’s written for Forbes magazine called Dungy’s remarks evidence of his “racist apologist, respectability politics, and The Black friend showmanship.”
Has everything become political? And racist? Even the notion that the boys and girls need a father in the home?
Interestingly and ironically, Barack Obama when he was campaigning for President in a 2008 Father’s Day address offered this observation.
“We know the statistics–children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”
The Bible reminds us of the importance of the father in the home when God complimented Abraham saying, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice…” (Gen. 18:19).
The wise man’s example reminds Dads of their role to counsel, advise and instruct their children.
“My son, hear the instruction of your father…” (Prov. 1:8).
“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching” (Prov. 4:1-2).
“Listen to your father, who gave you life…”(Prov. 23:22).
In the context of the father’s leadership role in the home and his relationship with his wife, the apostle Paul offers this admonition. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Having a father in the home who is a spiritual leader and actively involved in the rearing of his children is not outdated, old-fashioned, or obsolete. Nor is it an indication of partisan political affiliation. Nor an expression of racial insensitivity or prejudice. It is the sign of being God’s man. And fulfilling the Divine order and arraignment of the family.
In the past 50-60 years the importance of having a father in the home. has come under attack. Considered only an option. And even ridiculed and belittled in some circles. Sitcoms have often pictured Dad as a buffoon and bumbling idiot. It’s past time to return to and restore the honor, dignity, and importance of fatherhood in the home.
Dads, don’t be discouraged by the critics in our culture. Don’t relent to the pressure of political correctness. Or be led away from the responsibility of your family by selfishness, busyness, or carnal desires. Be there. Be involved. Invest in yourself in your children’s lives.
Paul Lewis was right when he wrote in, “The 5 Key Habits of Smart Dads.” A hundred years from now the size of my bank account won’t matter. Nor the size or style house I lived in, nor the model car I drove. But the world may be different because I was deeply involved in the life of my children.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
Note: As a follow-up, watch for Friday’s blog offering a list of specific ways Dads can be involved in their children’s lives