October 17, 2013

A Father's Gifts to His Son

At The National Center for Fathering (NCF), they believe ". . . every child needs a dad they can count on." For NCF this isn't just a great idea but a real goal. Ever since the organization was founded by Dr. Ken Canfield as a nonprofit, scientific and education organization, they have been offering very practical and research-based training to support father (and grandfather) involvement with their sons.

On the NCF website you'll find a small mountain of information about their seminars, their small-group training, the WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) program, a library of articles, a link to their daily radio program, and how you can sign up for their weekly e-mail.

One of the Man-Making Blog subscribers and a true brother in mission, Joseph A. Schrock, sent along this wonderful list, titled "8 Ways Fathers Benefit Boys," he found on Fathers.com. It's from The Fatherless Generation Foundation, Inc. In a world where we have an epidemic of under-male-nourished boys, this list below is music to my ears.

As you read this list, remember that while an involved father is the most potent man-making force in a boy's life, the other men of his village have countless additional gifts for the young man. You won't have the same clout as "dad," but by being intentional, you too, can help shape a young man's life in these same ways.

8 Ways Fathers Benefit Boys

Countless studies have shown that growing up with a father increases a boy's school performance and decreases their risk of committing a crime and abusing drugs and alcohol. Here are eight more ways dads influence boys—whether they live in the home or stay involved on a regular basis.
  1. Shape their identity. Boys look to fathers in their search for self. Without a father, boys have a harder time defining who they are and who they want to be. A boy's search for himself starts with his father.
  2. Help them belong. The need to belong to a family or tribe is a powerful force in boys. Having a father in the picture gives them this sense of alliance. Studies show that boys without fathers are more likely to join gangs—because they have to look outside the family for social acceptance.
  3. Influence their values. Boys with fathers are more likely than their fatherless peers to have economic stability in the household. This gives them a sense of self-worth. There are other values fathers shape: work ethic, having a healthy relationship, and persevering.
  4. Demonstrate character. Boys look up to their fathers and imitate what they see. Fathers can model good character traits like integrity, honesty, courage, restraint, fairness, foresight, and citizenship. When fathers are absent, boys look to celebrities, popular musicians, or sports figures for character cues.
  5. Teach respect. A father who does not show up for his boy epitomizes disrespect. Present fathers, on the other hand, can actively teach respectful behaviors such as listening, trust, tolerance, politeness, and understanding limits.
  6. Fill the void. Boys without fathers often feel as though there's something missing, which is why some fatherless boys turn to sex, pornography, violence, drugs, alcohol, or other self-destructive behaviors. Having a father helps boys feel complete.
  7. Balance ideas about sex. Boys without fathers have a lot of unanswered questions about sex. A side effect is that they don't talk about sex and don't get the practical advice that would carry them into healthy, fulfilling relationships as men. Fathers can give practical advice about girls, sex, wet dreams, contraceptives, pregnancy, and other topics they are not likely to discuss with their moms.
  8. Give them love. Boys who don't have involved fathers often view love as vulnerability and trust as a bad thing. Fathers show boys that love means satisfaction and completeness.
Does this list cook up anything in you?

If your father was not involved with you growing up, 
where did you learn these important life lessons?

Share your thoughts with me in a quick message.

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