The Importance of Being Father
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
How important is father to a child’s religious growth? Due to the way in which census information is gathered in Switzerland, researchers were able to find out. And while their conclusions might shock modern sensitivities, they are really not too surprising.
If both mother and father attend church regularly with their children, 33 percent of those children will grow up to attend church regularly. Another 41 percent will grow up to attend church irregularly, and the remaining 25 percent of the children will end up lost, not going to church at all. Amazingly, if only the father is regular in his church attendance, and the mother is irregular or doesn’t go at all, the number of children who grow up to attend church regularly or irregularly actually increases. On the other hand, if only the mother attends church regularly, and the father doesn’t go at all, only two percent of the children will grow up to attend church regularly. Researchers concluded that a father’s practice of his faith has 12 times more influence upon his children than the mother’s. Similar studies in England showed the same trend.
While no one would dispute that mothers are a great blessing and provide things that fathers cannot provide, clearly, fathers are essential to healthy spiritual development. This is why, in Scripture, God charges fathers with spiritual leadership.
Lord, I thank You for faithful fathers everywhere. Help Christian fathers to take their responsibilities seriously. Amen.
Touchstone Magazine, 2003, Robbie Low, “The Truth About Men and Church.”