Looking up to Dad

My Dad: My Hero

Daddy doesn’t know he’s being watched but I can see when my son looks at his father with those eyes that he’s watching every move and listening to every word. He wants to be just like his Hero.

I normally don’t write a political or religious post, but I wanted to gather all the mums around and let them in on a little statistic we don’t hear about from Church.

“According to data collected by Promise Keepers and Baptist Press, if a father does not go to church, even if his wife does, only 1 child in 50 will become a regular worshiper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of what the mother does, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will attend church as adults. If a father attends church irregularly, between half and two-thirds of their kids will attend church with some regularity as adults.” (https://nickcady.org/2016/06/20/the-impact-on-kids-of-dads-faith-and-church-attendance/)

Furthermore, “…if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow. However, when the father is first, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the household will follow.” (Promise Keepers, Focus on the Family, LifeWay Christian Research and a book called “Becoming Spiritual Soulmates With Your Child.”).

I’m shocked by those statistics…

It actually made me wonder what has happened to church attendance for Dad’s? Is it that they feel like they have worked all week and feel so exhausted that Sunday’s should be for family, household chores or relaxing before the working week… or are these just excuses for what’s really impacting their experience with Church.

Do they feel burdened and overwhelmed about getting into itchy church clothes and slapping on a fake smile? Did he have a bad experience or tried youth group and disliked those little arrogant self-righteous “Christians” and thought they didn’t want to have any part of church. Or do they just genuinely not want to build a relationship God? Maybe this a cultural issue for society and I want to make a point that we as partners or wives don’t pressure Dad’s into regular attendance. Not every sermon will speak deeply to a mans soul but maybe fellowship with other men will rub off on them. Church has changed. It’s different now to what it was even a decade ago. Whatever their experience may have been growing up, please have a frank and honest conversation with him. No pressure. Be supportive. Listen.

This impacts our kids AND their kids! Does lack of spiritual growth impact life meaning and therefore suicide rates?

The Bible says: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+6%3A6-9&version=ESV

When I met my husband, he was a Christian but he didn’t fully understand the significance of regular church attendance. I told him I wasn’t allowed to date guys who didn’t go to church regularly. Apparently I was the reason he decided to get to church and see me on Sundays. We started going to a young adults bible study together and wherever we lived and moved Church and Bible Study was important to us. His faith grew and he has a solid foundation in Christ and an Elder in our Presbyterian Church.

At the other end of this, my Dad lives his life for Jesus and I’m very thankful that every Sunday in my teenage years when I moaned about going to Church and wanting to sleep-in he told me it was not negotiable. I’m sure I got away with a few fake sickies here and there haha! I’m grateful to God that my siblings and I all go to Church and all to different denominations. All our kids go to church and are involved in some type of youth ministry, Christian education, sunday school or creche. Faith will always be a huge part of our lives because we are deeply impacted by the legacy that our Mum and Dad have given us and our children.

My husband’s thoughts are that Sunday Church has a lot to offer socially and networking for mothers, but for dad’s we aren’t ‘doing’ hands on Christianity well. Men don’t converse the way women do and their style of deep soul searching is communicated differently. Churches today recognise this and I think over the next decade there will be a shift in actively seeking to support men better than they have been.

What’s stopping you from having an honest conversation with your partner or husband about regular church attendance? Remember to listen and empathise and most importantly, consistently PRAY FOR YOU CHILD’S FATHER.

By Sarah Courtney

Wife of 13 years, Mum of 3, Blogger & Early Childhood Teacher.

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