If you are here and reading this, it means you want to be more intentional with your children. I commend that. This world needs more fathers like YOU! In the book, The Resolutions for Men, the authors write that "The success or failure of fatherhood is the key issue of our generation. Leadership determines direction." (p.14).
The fact that you are here, looking for guidance, direction, ideas, anything, means you are exemplifying leadership. I thank you for that. More importantly, your children thank you for that.
Unfortunately, per the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children live in a home without a male father figure. This is not just talking about the child's biological father, it takes into account adoptive and step fathers as well. 25% of children. Per the census, that’s 15,310,000 children under the age of 18 grow up with only their mother, without having the influence of a consistent male adult in their life. The only positive here, is that this number peeked around 2012 at 17,991,000 children living with only their mother, with a steady decline to where we are today. Ultimately, we want this number to be 0. But for this number to continue to decline, it is up to each and every father out there to make the decision for themselves and their children to be the change.
There are many studies and statistics that show the effects of homes without a father-figure. For example, children living without their father in their home are 47% more likely to live in poverty, 7 times more likely to become pregnant as a teen, 2 times greater risk of infant mortality, 2 times more likely to suffer obesity, and 2 times more likely to drop out of high school. Sadly, the list goes on. For more facts and statistics, please see our "Fatherhood Statistics" page.
Based on these statistics, the fact you are even physically in your child's life appears to be a win. However, what they don't have are those same statistics for fathers that are ONLY physically present in the household. It's one thing to simply be "in" the house, a warm body taking up space, it's another to actually be present.
What's the point of you being there physically but without engaging, interacting, intentionally pursuing your children?
So why stop at physically present?
Set your bar higher.
Take it to the next level.
Be intentional in building a relationship with your child. Be proactive in seeking out moments to spend quality time together. Plan activities and create memories that will last a lifetime in your child's heart. Be present, both physically AND mentally.
Be the Influence
Throughout your child's life, there will be many women who will be influencers. Their Mother, of course, will be the most influential. But then, outside of your home, the majority of influential adults in your child's life will be throughout their schooling.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2017-2018, 76% of all teaching positions in public schools were female. This number increases to 89% when focusing only on the elementary school level. Now, this is not at all saying that a woman's influence isn't valuable, it most certainly is, but there needs to be a balance. Diversity of thought and influence help shape a more well-rounded person. To me, this starts at home with female and male perspectives.
In my case, raising a boy in particular, this conversation is even more prevalent. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge discusses this topic in regards to raising boys: "Femininity can never bestow masculinity. My mother would often call me 'sweetheart'. but my father called me 'tiger'. Which direction do you think a boy would want to head?" (p.64) In his case, his mother would always be his comfort, but his dad was his adventure and catalyst for "danger", as he puts it.
In addition to being your son's adventure, an adult male influence is also needed as a demonstrator of manhood. For example, how to properly speak to and treat a woman. How to develop healthy friendships. How to pursue and practice self-control in confrontational situations, but also in regards to the sinful pleasures of this world. This list can go on and on, but ultimately, in the words of Jon Tyson from his book The Intentional Father, we need to teach our sons not how to be good men, rather, how to "be good at being a man.'" (p.167).
On the flip side, raising a daughter, a male influence is critical as well. Model to her what she should look for in a man.
How do you treat your wife?
How do you speak to your wife in public but more importantly in private?
Imagine a young boy echoing your words and mirroring your actions to your daughter. How do you feel about that? How would you want him to speak and act towards her?
One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. - Howard W. Hunter
Overall, whether raising a girl or boy, it comes down to being both physically and mentally present to be the primary male influence for our children.
This was the reason I created The Intentional Father.
Similar to what it says in our mission statement, I want to encourage and equip fathers to be present and intentional in their child's life on a daily basis.
Being Present is the active state.
Turn off your phone, remove distractions and be 100% committed to the time that you spend with your children.
Being Intentional is the pro-active state.
The more this is done and the earlier you start in their life, the better the foundation will be set to share moments of joy and overcome moments of tribulation.
Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice. - Charles Kettering
One thing my dad always said to me was, "people won't always remember the exact words you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel." This is absolutely the case with your children. They won't always remember the activity, the conversation, or the moment, but they will remember how it made them feel and that you were there, intentionally with them.
This is why YOU matter.
Be Present. Be Intentional
Support The Intentional Father
To support our mission, The Intentional Father has released a few items and accessories for fathers. These items are specifically designed to be continuous reminders for father's to Be Present and Intentional in their children's lives.