Having a strong father figure is a hugely powerful factor in a child’s life; in fact it’s the biggest need that children have in today’s society. A strong father figure is profoundly effective at reducing things like drug addiction, crime, and even depression. And yet, dads seem a bit lost nowadays. When you were a kid, you might have drunk beer out of a beer bottle; but nowadays, there are parties with drugs. It’s really a dangerous place for kids and dads don’t really know what to do. Many fathers have no idea how to help their kids deal with peer pressure at parties. In fact, most fathers have never talked to their children about how to handle peer pressure.
The influence of father figures, not just dads, is incredibly effective in combating the challenges kids will face. A good and appropriate father figure more than halves a child’s risk of being a drug addict, and helps reduce by about 90% a child’s likelihood of being involved in crime. It also has a profound effect on depression. The statistics are overwhelming and no one disagrees with them.
A father figure can be a grandfather, uncle or another male in the family. It could also be a sports coach, teacher, or even a pastor. A father figure is more effective when a child either doesn’t have a dad, or if the dad is not really interested. That’s when the kids sort of have their radar out for another father figure. There are a number of stories of young boys and teenage boys whose lives were dramatically changed by having someone who paid attention to them. At the time you may think you are not making any impact on those kids and then 20 years later you’ll realise they were actually paying attention. There are so many wonderful young men that don’t have very good role models. It can be as simple as inviting them into your house for dinner and talking about life.
Whether you are a dad or not, you can make a difference in the life of a child. Be a supporting father, or father figure, and build a stronger society in doing so.
Listen in to Bruce Robinson’s interview with Graham Mabury. The audio has been reproduced with permission.